Romans 9:1-5

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

April 7, 1999


Paul is going to begin a new section where he will be dealing with the temporary removal of Israel from their privileged place as being God’s "chosen nation". He’ll be talking about their being "cut off" (ch. 11) from the tree and the believing Gentiles being grafted in. But before he can get to this subject, he is going to head off any criticism that he might just be bitter at the Jews. Nothing could be further from the truth.

:1-5 Paul’s heart for the Jews

:1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,

Paul can’t say it much stronger. He’s trying to tell us that he’s going to tell us something truthful!

:2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.

heavinesslupe – sorrow, pain, grief, annoyance, affliction

continualadialeiptos – unintermitted, unceasing, continual

sorrowodune – consuming grief, pain, sorrow. From duno – go under, be plunged into, sink in

:3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:

wisheuchomai – to pray to God; to wish, to pray, to pray for (imperfect indicative)

accursedanathema – a thing set up or laid by in order to be kept; specifically, an offering resulting from a vow, which after being consecrated to a god was hung upon the walls or columns of the temple, or put in some other conspicuous place; a thing devoted to God without hope of being redeemed, and if an animal, to be slain; therefore a person or thing doomed to destruction

kinsmensuggenes – of the same kin, akin to, related by blood; in a wider sense, of the same nation, a fellow countryman

Paul was Jewish. He has a heart for the Jews.

Could this really happen? Could I ask God to send me to hell in place of another person?

I don’t think God is going to do that. There has already been one who went to hell in their place. He’s paid enough.

The point is the heart attitude.


God’s shepherds have a heart for the lost.

Someone else once made a similar statement to Paul’s. When Moses had been gone on the mountain for forty days, the people got impatient and asked Aaron to make them another "god" to follow. Aaron made the golden calf. As Moses was coming down the mountain, God informed him about what was happening:

Exo 32:9-10 And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: {10} Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.

Would God have really wiped out Israel at this point? Again, I don’t think so. God doesn’t need to ask Moses for advice. God is trying to draw something out of Moses. He’s trying to draw out the heart of a shepherd.

(John 10:11-13 KJV) I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. {12} But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. {13} The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.

Moses proved he had the right heart to be leading these people:

Exo 32:32-33 Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. {33} And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.

The Ultimate Example of a Shepherd’s heart is found in Jesus Himself. He is the Good Shepherd. Follow His example.


"What will move you? Will pity? Here is distress never the like. Will duty? Here is a person never the like. Will fear? Here is wrath never the like. Will remorse? Here are sins never the like. Will kindness? Here is love never the like. Will bounty? Here are benefits never the like. Will all these? Here they be all, all in the highest degree."

- Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626), "Sermon on Good Friday"

Oh to have a heart like Jesus.

Do you have a heart for the lost? Are they just "unclean pagan heathen trash" who are nothing but a bother to you?

:4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;

Paul is talking about what wonderful privileges the Jews have had.

adoptionhuiothesia – adoption, adoption as sons; that relationship which God was pleased to establish between himself and the Israelites in preference to all other nations; the nature and condition of the true disciples in Christ, who by receiving the Spirit of God into their souls become sons of God

We see this had taken place by the time that God sent Moses to deliver Israel from Egypt:

Exodus 4:22-23 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: 23And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.

glory – When Israel journeyed from Egypt, they often saw the glory of God in the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night:

(Exo 16:10 KJV) And it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud.

They were the people who saw God’s shekinah glory fill the tabernacle. They saw God’s glory fill the temple.

covenantsdiatheke – a disposition, arrangement, of any sort, which one wishes to be valid, the last disposition which one makes of his earthly possessions after his death, a testament or will; a compact, a covenant, a testament

God made several "covenants" or agreements with Israel, the main one being the Mosaic Law.

(Deu 5:2 KJV) The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb.

giving of the lawnomothesia – giving, legislation

(Deu 5:1 KJV) And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them.

the servicelatreia – rendered for hire; the service and worship of God according to the requirements of the Levitical law; to perform sacred services

God gave the nation Israel the privilege of knowing how to worship Him, how to offer up sacrifice. The book of Leviticus is filled with this.

promisesepaggelia – announcement; promise; the act of promising, a promise given or to be given; a promised good or blessing

God has made many promises to Israel, the best being that of the Messiah. There are still many promises that God has yet to fulfill to Israel in these latter days.

They are a privileged people. I don’t think you can make much of a case that God has given specific promises to the United States of America. But you’ll find promises to Israel from Genesis to Revelation.

:5 Whose are the fathers

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

:5 and of whom as concerning the flesh

The Jews were blessed because the Saviour of the world, the Messiah, would come from them.

Jesus was born of the "flesh" in that He was a very real, very human person.


Jesus is fully human.

There were some early cults that thought that Jesus couldn’t have been human at all. They taught that as He walked along, He wouldn’t even leave any footprints.

But the Bible teaches that He came in the "flesh". This is not the "flesh" as in the "sin nature" (Rom. 7:18), but "flesh" in terms of a real, physical, human body.


He understands what you’re going through.

We’ve all had times when we were sharing some experience with someone, looking for sympathy, and come to find out that the person really didn’t have a clue what we had gone through. They might offer some callous bit of advice, but it doesn’t mean as much if they’ve been through what you have.

(Heb 2:17-18 NASB) Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. {18} For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.

(Heb 4:15-16 NASB) For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. {16} Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.


A pastor tells about preaching a children's sermon about Hagar, a slave woman in the Bible. "To help get across the idea of slavery, I had borrowed a pair of handcuffs from a local police officer. As I explained how slaves were often chained or restrained in some way, I slapped a handcuff on my wrist without thinking. It snapped shut. Oh, no. Al didn't give me the key, I thought. A parishioner tried to reach Al, but couldn't find him. So for the rest of the service, I preached, blessed the offering, and served Communion with a handcuff dangling from one wrist. By the time I stood at the door after the service, my wrist was raw. It was painful to shake hands with folks as they left. Yet most of the congregation made humorous quips about the incident. But one woman (who I knew had come from an abusive background) took my hand, gently massaged the rawness, and said quietly, "Now you know what it's like.""

-- Dick White, Christian Reader, Vol. 36, no. 2.

Jesus understands. He’s been there.


Take them to Jesus.

As a pastor, a lot of people share things with me about difficult times they’re going through. I have to admit that there are plenty of times I feel totally out of place because I’ve never been through what they have. But I can always take them to Jesus. He’s been there. He can help. No one understands their pain better than He does.

Divorced? Rejected? Cheated on by a spouse?

(Isa 53:3 KJV) He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

(Jer 2:13 KJV) For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

(Hosea 1:2 KJV) The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD.

You may not feel like you can fully understand all another person has gone through, but you don’t have to worry. Jesus understands. He has the answers. Take them to Jesus.

:5 Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

The Greek is clear here. Paul is saying that Christ came in the flesh by way of the Jews. And this Christ is "over all, God, blessed forever". He’s saying that Jesus is God.


Jesus is fully God.

This is one of the most important doctrines of Christianity. This is one of those defining doctrines that determines whether or not a group is a Christian group, or a non-Christian cult. Many groups will agree that Jesus was a great guy, but the real issue is whether or not they agree that He is God.

Look at the weight of the Scriptural evidence:

(John 1:1 KJV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Jesus is the Word (John 1:14). He was God. The Jehovah’s Witnesses make a big deal over the fact that there is no "definite article" (in English it’s the word "the") before "God" and they translate it, "the Word was a god". But in Greek, when you don’t have a definite article, the idea is that rather than pointing out a specific thing with an article, you are describing something by its nature. He was by nature God.

(John 8:58-59 KJV) Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. {59} Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

Jesus was claiming here (among quite a few other places in John) to be the "I AM", Yahweh. The Jews understood what He was saying and wanted to stone Him.

(John 10:30-33 KJV) I and my Father are one. {31} Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. {32} Jesus answered them, Many good works have I showed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? {33} The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

Again, the Jews understood what Jesus was saying, even if the cults don’t. They knew He was claiming to be God.

Keep in mind the seriousness of what Jesus was claiming. If He wasn’t really God, but was still claiming to be God, He’d either be a liar or a nut case. In either case, how could He be someone you’d want to follow?


I keep telling Shirley MacLaine, "You can't go around telling people you are God." It's a very difficult concept to accept.

-- Ophrah Winfrey in the New York Times Magazine (June 11, 1989). Christianity Today, Vol. 33, no. 12.

What if Jesus was some kind of a nut case? Is there anything that showed that He was who He said He was? Yes, His miracles, especially His resurrection:

(John 20:30-31 KJV) And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: {31} But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

(John 12:41 KJV) These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.

This is just an excerpt from a passage, but John has just quoted from Isaiah 6, and is saying that when Isaiah saw this glorious person, it was Jesus. Who is the glorious person in Isaiah 6? It’s Yahweh, seated upon His throne in the temple.

(Acts 20:28 KJV) Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

How did God purchase the church with His own blood? It was Jesus’ blood. Jesus is God.

(Phil 2:5-7 KJV) Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: {6} Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: {7} But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

He was in the form of God. He veiled His glory when He took on human flesh.

(Col 1:15-19 KJV) Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: {16} For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: {17} And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. {18} And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. {19} For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;

He is the image of God. He is the Creator. All the fulness dwells in Jesus.

(Col 2:9 KJV) For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

(Titus 2:13 KJV) Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

Jesus is our Great God and Savior. We look for His appearing.

(1 John 5:20 KJV) And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

Jesus is the true God and eternal life.


Why is it important to believe that Jesus is God?

There are "other gospels", there is "another" Jesus.

(2 Cor 11:4 KJV) For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

(Gal 1:6-9 KJV) I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: {7} Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. {8} But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. {9} As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

Our salvation is based upon our faith in the blood of Jesus.

(Rom 3:25 KJV) Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

Because Jesus is God, when He laid down His life for us, He laid down an infinite, eternal, immortal life. He was thus able to pay for the sins of the entire world with one sacrifice.

If we are following another Jesus, then we have the wrong blood.


If you are ill and in need of a blood transfusion, it’s important that you get the right kind of blood. It needs to be the correct blood type. It needs to be free from disease such as AIDS.

Christianity depends on our recognition of the deity of Jesus.


A man visited a vacant house with a friend who desired to purchase it. The friend was particularly struck by the beauty of one of the rooms which he wished to turn into his study; but he objected to a cupboard in the corner. "I will have to remove it," he said to the architect. "No, you won't," was the reply. "But I can do what I like if I buy the house," said the man. "You cannot do what you like with that cupboard," answered the architect. "Why not?" he asked. "Is it protected by a clause in the deed?" "No," said the architect, "it is not on the deed; it is on the plan. You cannot take away the cupboard without taking down the house, it is part of the main structure." So if we take away the deity of Christ, we destroy the whole structure of Christianity. That doctrine is built in. It is central. It is structural of the structure.


He’s someone you can count on.

Jesus said that if you took His words seriously and obeyed them, it would be like building your house on a rock:

(Mat 7:24-27 KJV) Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: {25} And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. {26} And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: {27} And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.


Abraham Lincoln once told of a farmer trying to teach his son how to plow a straight furrow. In the time-honored tradition, he told the boy to keep his eyes on some object at the other end of the field and plow straight for it. The boy started plowing and the farmer went about his chores. When he returned after several hours to check on the boy's progress, he was shocked to find instead of straight rows something that looked like a question mark. The boy had obeyed his father's instructions. He had fixed his eyes on something at the other side of the field -- a cow. Unfortunately, the cow had moved!

Evidently, that father forgot to tell his son to look for a stable object, one that wouldn't shift or move around. That's one mistake we don't have to make. We can fix our eyes on Jesus who never changes.

Fix your eyes on something solid:

(Heb 12:1-3 NIV) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. {2} Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. {3} Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.