The Letter to the Romans
COLLEEN MOORE TINKER
29. Israel, My Brothers
1 I speak the truth in Christ-I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit-
2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.
3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race,
4 the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises.
5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
In the first eight chapters of Romans, Paul has spelled out the nature of man, the need for salvation, the futility of trying to become righteous through law keeping, and the reality of living with the Holy Spirit. Now he turns his attention to his kinsmen, the people of Israel. He reveals how his heart aches for them in their unbelief, and he reminds us that God's sovereign promises to them are not annulled.
1. In verse 3 Paul says he wishes that he himself were "cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothersthe people of Israel." The Greek word behind "cursed" is "anathema", and it means being delivered over to God's wrath for destruction. Who else expressed a similar feeling for Israel, and in what other situations does Paul employ this powerful word? (see Exodus 32:31-32; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 1 Corinthians 16:22)
2. Who, exactly, is Israel, and how did they get that name? (see Genesis 32:28; 35:10; Judges 5:7; 1 Kings 11:26-40; 12:1-24)
3. Why does Paul say that the people of Israel, the Jews, have the blessing of being adopted as God's sons? (see Exodus 4:22-23; Exodus 6:7; Deuteronomy 7:6; Jeremiah 31:9; Hosea 11:1)
4.What does Paul mean when he says, theirs is the "divine glory"? (see Exodus 16:6-7, 10; Leviticus 9:6, 23-24; Numbers 16:19; Hebrews 9:5)
4. What were the "covenants" that Paul says were given to Israel? (see Genesis 15:17-21; 17:1-11; Exodus 19:3-8; 24:1-4, 12-18; Deuteronomy 29:1-21; Joshua 8:30-35; Joshua 24:1-33; Numbers 25: 6-13; Jeremiah 33:19-22; Malachi 2:1-4; 2 Samuel 7:1-17; 25-29; Psalm 89:3-4; 28-29; 132:11-12; Jeremiah 31:31-40)
5. In light of Israel's receiving the adoption as sons, the diving glory, and the covenants, what is the significance of Israel's receiving the law and the temple service? (see Psalm 147:19; Hebrews 9:1-10)
6. What were the promises that Israel received? (see Genesis 12:7; 13:14-17; 17:4-8; 22:15-18; 2 Samuel 7:12, 16; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5; 31:31-34; Ezekiel 34:23-24; 37:24-28)
7. Who are the patriarchs?
8. Verse 5b is more literally translated, "and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen." (NASB) This passage is one of the clearest statements of Christ's divinity in the Bible if "God blessed forever" is correctly understood to refer to Jesus. What other statements does the Bible make regarding the full divinity of Christ? (see Romans 1:4; Matthew 1:23; 28:19-20; Luke 1:35; 5:20-21; John 1:1, 3, 10, 14, 18; 5:18; 8:58; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Philippians 2:6; Colossians 1:15-20; 2:9; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:3, 8; 2 Peter 1:1; Revelation 1:13-18; 22:13)
9. What is the relationship of Israel with Christ-followers?
10. How has your understanding of who Jesus is changed over the years?
11. What are God's promises to you as His child, and what specifically is He asking of you?
12. Praise God for his reaching out to mankind and for His covenants with them. Praise Jesus for fulfilling the promises of God and for keeping God's covenant for us. Praise the Holy Spirit for giving us birth into God's family and for blessing us with the inheritance promised in God's covenants.
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