Who are Israelites; to whom pertains the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God…
Here is —
I. THE CROWNING FACT IN JEWISH HISTORY. "Of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came." In the preceding verses the apostle points to the most illustrious facts in the history, facts in which the Jews passionately gloried. They were "Israelites." No national appellation in their estimation was so distinguished as this; Greek and Roman were contemptible by its side. Theirs was the "adoption." To them pertained the "glory." They had the "covenants." The covenants with Abraham, with Jacob, and with Moses, were with them. To them pertained the "giving of the law." The best commentary on these words is to be found by Moses himself (Deuteronomy 4:32-36). To them also pertained the "service of God." He mentions these in order to prepare the way for the announcement of a fact before whose splendour all others pale their lustre, and that is this: "Of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came." This was the crowning fact of their history. He does not disparage the other facts; on the contrary, he is patriotically proud of them. When will the Jew come to see that Jesus of Nazareth is the glory of Israelitish history? Here is —
II. THE GREATEST FACT IN HUMAN HISTORY.
1. There are many great facts in the history of the world.
(1) Physical, such as deluges, earthquakes, wars, pestilences, etc.
(2) Political, such as the rise and fall of empires.
(3) Social, such as discoveries in science, inventions in art, reformations in customs and manners.
(4) Religious, such as the birth, growth, and decay of theological systems and ceremonial observances.
2. But of all facts there is not one approaching the great one in the text, viz., that Christ Jesus came into the world.
(1) No fact is better attested.
(2) No fact is so central in the world's history as this.
(3) No fact involves such vital influence to the world as this.
(D. Thomas, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;