Paul’s Burden for Israelites Rom. 9:1-9 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Paul expressed his heavy burden for the Israelites in Rom 9. He was the apostle to the Gentiles [Gal 2:7] and yet he never lost his burden for the Jews. The reason is that Jews are not automatically children of God because they are Israelites. They must have faith in Jesus Christ to become children of God. However, many Jews believe that because they have the law, they have righteousness, and therefore don’t need faith in Jesus Christ. Paul explained in Rom 9, by the doctrine of election, why this is wrong.
Paul’s Burden – Rom 9:1-3 – Paul’s burden is true and it is validated by his conscience and the witness of the Holy Ghost [Rom 9:1]. His burden was manifested by “great heaviness” and “continual sorrow,” [Rom 9:2]. In this he is like Jesus who was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief [Is 53:3]. When Jesus beheld Jerusalem right before his crucifixion, he wept over it [Lk 19:41]. Paul was also like Christ in that he was willing to be “accursed,” [Rom 9:3; Gal 3:10-13] for the sake of his “kinsmen.” Paul undoubtedly expressed this burden, not only because it was true, but also because many Jews believed that Paul had abandoned them by ministering to the Gentiles.
Why Israelites – Rom 9:4-5 – Paul was burdened for Israel, not only because they were his brethren, but also because of the special privileges they had been granted. To Israel pertained:
- The adoption – Ex 4:22 – Israel was adopted as God’s firstborn son
- The glory – Ex 19:11, 40:34; 1 Ki 8:10-11 – the Lord’s glory came down for Israel
- The covenants – God’s covenant with Abraham [Gen 17], confirmed to all the tribes [Ps 105:8-11]. His covenant with Moses [Ex 19:5, Ex 20, Ex 24:7]. His covenant with David [2 Sam 7:12-17]. And his new covenant with Israel [Jer 31:31-37]
- The giving of the law – Ex 20; Deut 6:4-5 – God gave the law to Israel.
- The service of God – Heb 9:1-6 – this has to do with their service in the tabernacle and the temple.
- The promises – these include Gen 12:3, Rom 9:9 and Mal 3:6
- The coming of Christ – Matt 1:1; Rom 1:3 – Christ is a descendant of Abraham. And yet he is God manifest in the flesh [1 Tim 3:16].
Why burdened – Rom 9:6-9 – Paul was burdened for the Israelites because not everyone born to Abraham was a child of God. Jews thought that because they descended from Abraham they were children of God [Matt 3:9; Jn 8:33, 39]. But Paul needed to remind them that a descendant of Abraham is not a child of God by virtue of his ancestry. Ishmael was Abraham’s first child, yet he was not the child of promise. Isaac was. And it is essential that a Jew be a child of promise to be a child of God.
Skipping ahead a bit, Paul shows us how to be a child of promise and he does this by dealing with the doctrine of election. We will briefly introduce this doctrine in today’s lesson. “The purpose of God according to election,” [Rom 9:11] is this. God chose Abraham [Rom 9:7]. God chose Isaac [Rom 9:7]. God chose Jacob [Rom 9:9-13]. And God chose Jesus Christ [Rom 9:33]. God, therefore chose that all who believe on Jesus Christ by faith [Rom 9:30-32] should be children of God. And this is the purpose of God according to election. That’s why “the children of the flesh… are not the children of God,” [Rom 9:8].
Conclusion: what Paul does by expressing his burden for the Israelites is that he demonstrates his zeal to bring them to Christ whereby the promises given to their fathers might be theirs.