|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:1-5 Being about to discuss the rejection of the Jews and the calling of the Gentiles, and to show that the whole agrees with the sovereign electing love of God, the apostle expresses strongly his affection for his people. He solemnly appeals to Christ; and his conscience, enlightened and directed by the Holy Spirit, bore witness to his sincerity. He would submit to be treated as accursed, to be disgraced, crucified; and even for a time be in the deepest horror and distress; if he could rescue his nation from the destruction about to come upon them for their obstinate unbelief. To be insensible to the eternal condition of our fellow-creatures, is contrary both to the love required by the law, and the mercy of the gospel. They had long been professed worshippers of Jehovah. The law, and the national covenant which was grounded thereon, belonged to them. The temple worship was typical of salvation by the Messiah, and the means of communion with God. All the promises concerning Christ and his salvation were given to them. He is not only over all, as Mediator, but he is God blessed for ever.
Verse 1 - Romans 11:36. - 2. The present position and prospects of the Jewish nation con-sidereal. Verses 1-5. - (1) Deep regret expressed for the present exclusion of the Jewish nation from inheritance of the promises. This section is not necessary for the main argument of the Epistle, which would have been complete without it for an exposition of God's righteousness, ch. 12. following naturally the conclusion of ch. 8, and these intervening chapters having no immediate connection with the preceding or succeeding context. But it was a subject too deeply fixed in St. Paul's mind to be left unnoticed. And besides, what he had said at the beginning of his treatise, and afterwards implied, seemed to call for some explanation in the face of existing facts. For he had said (Romans 1:16), that the gospel "was the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile;" and throughout he has regarded it as the fulfilment of the peculiar promises made to the Jews themselves, who were to have precedence, though not monopoly, in the inheritance of its blessings. How, then, was this view consistent with the fact that the Jews in general, even more than any others, were now excluded from this inheritance? The apostle has already, even in the course of his argument, paused to meet certain supposed difficulties of this kind in the short section, Romans 3:1-8; but now he takes up the whole subject formally, and considers it in all its bearings. First, in ch. 9, he expresses his deep sorrow for the fact; but shows it to be not inconsistent either with God's faithfulness to his promise, or with his justice, or with the Word of prophecy. Verse 1. - I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing witness with me in the Holy Ghost. For similar solemn asseverations by St. Paul of the truth of what was known to himself alone, cf. Romans 1:9; 2 Corinthians 11:31; Philippians 1:8; 1 Timothy 2:7. The peculiar solemnity of this may be due to the peculiar depth of his feelings on the subject. It is not necessary to suppose him to be moved by a fear of his patriotic enthusiasm being doubted, now that he had turned Christian, and argued so strongly against Jewish monopoly of privilege But it may have been so. For the force of ἐν Ξριστῶ, cf. 2 Corinthians 2:17; ch. 12:19; Ephesians 4:17; 1 Thessalonians 4:1. It is not an adjuration, but denotes the element in which he moves and speaks. Similarly, ἐν Πνεύματι ἁγίῳ following (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:3), which, of course, could not be on oath.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I say the truth in Christ, I lie not,.... The apostle being about to discourse concerning predestination, which he had mentioned in the preceding chapter, and to open the springs and causes of it, and also concerning the induration and rejection of the Jewish nation; he thought it necessary to preface his account of these things with some strong assurances of his great attachment to that people, and his affection for them, lest it should be thought he spoke out of prejudice to them; and well knowing in what situation he stood in with them, on account of his preaching up the abrogation of the ceremonial law, and how difficult it might be for him to obtain their belief in what he should say, he introduces it with a solemn oath, "I say the truth in Christ, I lie not": which refers not to what he had said in the foregoing chapter, but to what he was going to say; and is all one as if he had said, as I am in Christ, a converted person, one born again, and renewed in the spirit of my mind, what I am about to speak is truth, and no lie; or I swear by Christ the God of truth, who is truth itself, and I appeal to him as the true God, the searcher of hearts, that what I now deliver is truth, and nothing but truth, and has no falsehood in it. This both shows that the taking of an oath is lawful, and that Christ is truly God, by whom only persons ought to swear:
my conscience bearing me witness. The apostle, besides his appeal to Christ, calls his conscience to witness to the truth of his words; and this is as a thousand witnesses; there is in every man a conscience, which unless seared as with a red hot iron, will accuse or excuse, and bear a faithful testimony to words and actions; and especially a conscience enlightened, cleansed, and sanctified by the Spirit of God, as was the apostle's: hence he adds,
in the Holy Ghost; meaning either that his conscience was influenced and directed by the Holy Ghost in what he was about to say; or it bore witness in and with the Holy Ghost, and the Holy Ghost with that; so that here are three witnesses called in, Christ, conscience, and the Holy Ghost; and by three such witnesses, his words must be thought to be well established.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ro 9:1-33. The Bearing of the Foregoing Truths upon the Condition and Destiny of the Chosen People—Election—The Calling of the Gentiles.
Too well aware that he was regarded as a traitor to the dearest interests of his people (Ac 21:33; 22:22; 25:24), the apostle opens this division of his subject by giving vent to his real feelings with extraordinary vehemence of protestation.
1, 2. I say the truth in Christ—as if steeped in the spirit of Him who wept over impenitent and doomed Jerusalem (compare Ro 1:9; 2Co 12:19; Php 1:8).
my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost—"my conscience as quickened, illuminated, and even now under the direct operation of the Holy Ghost."
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