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.
4. Who are Israelites—See Ro 11:1; 2Co 11:22; Php 3:5.
to whom pertaineth—"whose is"
the adoption—It is true that, compared with the new economy, the old was a state of minority and pupilage, and so far that of a bond-servant (Ga 4:1-3); yet, compared with the state of the surrounding heathen, the choice of Abraham and his seed was a real separation of them to be a Family of God (Ex 4:22; De 32:6; Isa 1:2; Jer 31:9; Ho 11:1; Mal 1:6).
and the glory—that "glory of the Lord," or "visible token of the Divine Presence in the midst of them," which rested on the ark and filled the tabernacle during all their wanderings in the wilderness; which in Jerusalem continued to be seen in the tabernacle and temple, and only disappeared when, at the Captivity, the temple was demolished, and the sun of the ancient economy began to go down. This was what the Jews called the "Shekinah."
and the covenants—"the covenants of promise" to which the Gentiles before Christ were "strangers" (Eph 2:12); meaning the one covenant with Abraham in its successive renewals (see Ga 3:16, 17).
and the giving of the law—from Mount Sinai, and the possession of it thereafter, which the Jews justly deemed their peculiar honor (De 26:18, 19; Ps 147:19, 20; Ro 2:17).
and the service of God—or, of the sanctuary, meaning the whole divinely instituted religious service, in the celebration of which they were brought so nigh unto God.
and the promises—the great Abrahamic promises, successively unfolded, and which had their fulfilment only in Christ; (see Heb 7:6; Ga 3:16, 21; Ac 26:6, 7).