The Jews looked for a Messiah (John 7:40-42); but they expected the Messiah to restore the nation of Israel to world prominence, to restore the great kingdom of David, and to confer upon Israel great favor with God. If any Gentile participated in this glorious kingdom, it would be by becoming a Jew. It is obvious that they did not understand the sacrifices and types; for they did not see the Messiah coming first as a Lamb, a Sin-offering, and a Saviour. They read the Old Testament Scriptures that refer to His triumphant and glorious second-coming (the eternal kingdom of righteousness) and applied them to His first coming and to their nation alone. But Christ came as it was writtenthe Lamb of God, the righteousness of God, the atonement and sacrifice for sin, for Jew and Gentile (Rom. 10:12-13; Eph. 2:11-16). How did the Jews respond? With few exceptions they rejected Him and His message (John 1:11; Acts 13:44-48). As a result of their greatest sin, the rejection of Christ, they have been blinded and the gospel preached to the Gentile nations (Rom. 11:7-10). The Gentiles in great number believed the gospel and were saved. The Jews, for the most part, abide still in unbelief. This is what is on Paul's mind as he writes the following words.
(Vs. 1-3) There are three things to note in these verses.
(1) THE SOLEMN VOW. I speak the truth as a Christian. I do not lie. The Holy Spirit is my witness.
(2) THE SINCERE AFFECTION. Paul was happy in Christ; but when he thought of his Jewish brethren in blindness and unbelief, it caused him great sorrow (Rom. 10:1).
(3) THE STARTLING STATEMENT. If his being separated from Christ could secure their salvation, he expresses his willingness. This is most difficult to understand, but Moses said practically the same thing (Exo. 32:31-33).
(Vs. 4) Paul identifies the people of whom he speaksmy kinsmen are the descendents of Abraham.
(1) THE ADOPTION was theirs. Not spiritual adoption which makes men joint-heirs with Christ; but they were God's chosen nation, separated from idolatrous nations (Deut. 7:6-8).
(2) THE GLORY was theirs (I Sam. 4:22). This glory was the presence of God in their midstthe tabernacle, the ark, the cloud, etc.
(3) THE COVENANTS with Abraham and David were theirs.
(4) THE GIVING OF THE LAW was theirs. The law was given to Israel at Sinai.
(5) THE SERVICE OF GOD was theirs. This is the service of the tabernacle, the acceptable way to worship God (Heb. 9:1-8).
(6) THE PROMISES were theirspromises of the Messiah, of redemption, and of glory.
(Vs. 5) From this nation came the fathersAbraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, and all the others (Heb. 1:1). But still an infinitely higher honor (of the Jewish nation, as concerning His flesh)CHRIST CAME! He is a direct descendant of David (Rom. 1:3; Matt. l:l).
"Who is over all, God blessed forever." This is one of the most distinct statements of our Lord's deityHe is God over all! (John 10:30; Heb. 1:8; Acts 20:28.)
(Vs. 6) The unbelief of Israel and their rejection by God does not mean that the Divine purpose has failed nor that the promises of God are of none effect; for it is not only the natural descendants of Abraham who make up THE TRUE ISRAEL OF GOD, but those who believe in Christ, both Jews and Gentiles (Rom. 3:29-30; Rom. 4:9-12). The promise of redemption was to Abraham and his seed, WHO IS CHRIST (Gal. 3:16). There are many Jews who are NOT Israel and many Gentiles who ARE Israel (Phil. 3:3).
(Vs. 7) We have this illustrated in the case of Ishmael and Isaac. Ishmael was not of Israel though he was a direct descendant of Abraham. The error of the Jews was that they thought they were children of God by being the children, of Abraham. This natural sonship was only a figure of the spiritual sonship of all believers of all nations.
(Vs. 8) The sum is this: men are not the children of God because they are children of Abraham, nor because they are children of believers, nor because they are descendants of any flesh; but they are children of God who are children of the covenant of grace in Christ Jesus, who are born again (John 1:11-13), who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ with the heart.
God has a people, a holy nation, chosen in Christ. To these people He has given His presence, His blessings, and an inheritance forever (I Peter 2:9). National Israel is a type of this holy nation.
The people who make up this holy Israel are not so because they are people whom God created, or because they name the name of God as their father, or because they go about a form of worship; but they are sons of God who are chosen of God and are children of true faith. Ishmael and Isaac illustrate this. Both were sons of Abraham by natural descent, but one was chosen. God has a chosen people out of every nation.