1 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit,
2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart.
3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh,
conscience also bearing me witness — should be “my conscience bearing witness with me.” Paul’s conscience bore witness along with his words and his conscience was guided by the Holy Spirit.
I could wish — If it were possible, but it wasn’t. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (Romans 8:35). God wouldn’t allow it, and it wouldn’t have saved Israel.
accursed — anathema, disfavor of God
Moses said the same thing — And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if Thou wilt forgive their sin; and if not, blot me, I pray Thee, out of Thy book which Thou hast written (Exodus 32:31-32).
… The parallelism between chapter 9 and the first part of chapter 3 — In the third chapter three questions were asked which represent supposed Jewish objections raised against the teaching that Jew and Gentile were on the same ground before God in matters of sin and justification by faith.
The first objection was that such an equalization would abrogate the distinctive privileges of the Jew. The question in 3:1 was answered in 3:2. So now chapter 9 shows what are the distinctive privileges of the nation (vs.4-5).
The second objection in chapter 3 was that the validity of God’s promises would be destroyed (3:3). That was answered in 3:4. Similarly chapter 9 shows that the unbelief of Israel is no evidence that the Word of God is come to naught (vs.6-13).
The third objection in chapter 3 was that God would be unrighteous (3:5). That was answered in 3:6-8. This is taken up again in 9:14, where the question is asked, “Is there unrighteousness with God?” The answer is given in verses 14 to 33. — Vine, page 136-137
The whole Old Testament was simply packed with promises that God had made to this Jewish nation. They were Messianic promises, promises which went with the Christ, the Messiah. Now notice the paradoxical situation. If the Jewish nation will not accept Jesus as Messiah, then the unbelieving Jew would say that there are two possible conclusions to be drawn. Either the gospel that Paul is preaching is not true, or else, if it is true, then the promises of God to Israel have failed, because the Messiah and blessing to Israel were connected inseparably. The Jew would say in essence that, either Jesus Christ is not the true Messiah or the Word of God has proven false.
That is the problem, and it was a tremendous one! It is still a problem today, with which men are trying to cope. If people would only read these chapters carefully, they would find a clear statement of the problem as well as the ultimate solution. A great many people set aside the Jew entirely. They say the promises have failed as far as the Jews are concerned. But that is not true. — McClain, page 173.
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