God and His People

Romans 9:1-5

Good News Translation (GNT)

"I belong to Christ and I do not lie."

1 I am speaking the truth; I belong to Christ and I do not lie.
  My conscience, ruled by the Holy Spirit,
  also assures me that I am not lying
2 when I say how great is my sorrow,
  how endless the pain in my heart
3 for my people, my own flesh and blood!
  For their sake I could wish that I myself were under God's curse
  and separated from Christ.
4 They are God's people;
   he made them his children and revealed his glory to them;
   he made his covenants (a) with them and gave them the Law;
   they have the true worship;
   they have received God's promises;
5 they are descended from the famous Hebrew ancestors;
   and Christ, as a human being,
   belongs to their race.
   May God, who rules over all, be praised forever! (b) Amen.

Romans 9:4 covenants; some manuscripts have covenant.
Romans 9:5 May God, who rules over all, be praised forever!;
or And may he, who is God ruling over all, be praised forever!

A compilation taken from 'word-on-the-web'
supplied by Scripture Union
and The Bible in One Year, a free Bible commentary app
with readings by Nicky and Pippa Gumbel from HTB in London.

God's Sovereign Choice

Most Jewish people at the time Paul wrote this letter,
would have believed that the Jewish people as a whole were saved.

Paul did not think of becoming a Christian as being converted from Judaism.
For Paul, it was intensely personal.
He calls Israel 'my people' (9:3),
meaning not Christians but Jews.
They were his family.
He had grown up with them.
He said that he suffers 'great sorrow and unceasing anguish' (v.2).
(how great is my sorrow, how endless the pain in my heart GNT)

Some seem to suggest that there is no more sorrow in life
after someone becomes a Christian.
But for Paul, with great joy also came great sorrow and pain.
It is a strange paradox.

You too may feel this great sorrow about members of your family
or friends who seem to be outside the kingdom,
or when people reject Jesus.

Paul cared so much for their salvation
that he was prepared not just to die for them but
'to be cut off from Christ' (v.3) -
the ultimate terror for Paul.
It is only the life of the sinless Jesus who could do that. (die for them)

Yet, to Paul's great sadness,
he realises that most of his own people
have rejected this extraordinary gift of redemption and forgiveness.
God has offered them (and us) everything -
and yet they can choose to reject it.

What makes it even sadder for Paul is that they are God's chosen people.
God in his sovereignty had chosen the people of Israel:
'They had everything going for them -
family, glory, covenants, revelation, worship, promises,
to say nothing of being the race that produced the Messiah,
the Christ, who is God over everything, always' (vv.4b-5, MSG).

Lord, thank you that you are loving and merciful,
slow to anger and rich in love.
Thank you that you died for us on the cross,
so that all who believe in you can be set free.
Help me to trust you when my understanding fails.

Other versions are available here

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