I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit.
The triple oath indicates Paul’s honor and integrity, which he has indicated in so many ways. In addition to his honor and integrity we see his emotion in verse 2. Paul was emotionally related to the Jews. When he used this triple oath it wasn’t accidental, it was to indicate his emotional involvement with the Jewish race.
First oath, “I am telling the truth in Christ.” This is something that is very important. When anyone is dealing with God’s Word integrity is the order of the day. Paul, a genius in human terms, knew the importance of handling the Word of God with accuracy. He encouraged those he taught to do the same.
Second oath, “I lie not.” This phrase denotes the persistence of honor code in Paul’s communication of Bible doctrine. Paul was not only a man of great genius but, unlike many men of great genius, he was able to make the practical application of his genius to reality. Paul recognized that human intellect was nothing compared to accurate Bible doctrine (God’s knowledge).
Third oath, “My conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit.” Everything that he said was compatible with his conscience and, as we will see in the rest of the oath, compatible with the ministry of God the Holy Spirit. Note that the conscience is under the authority of the Holy Spirit for guaranteed accuracy in the communication and writing of Scripture.
This triple oath was especially necessary because what Paul had to say condemned the Jewish unbeliever. It excluded the Jewish unbeliever from God’s unconditional covenants, the future Millennial reign of Messiah and Heaven. Just because of the rejection of some Jews, God does not abandon His people. As an Israelite and a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul in the next verse expressed his burden of sorrow for those who had excluded themselves by not appropriating eternal salvation.
That I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart.
Paul had pain in his body but that was nothing compared to the pain that he had in his soul. In this verse Paul stated the fact of his great burden without revealing its content. The content will come in the next four verses. In the next three verses Paul specified Israel as the subject of his grief and pain in his heart. Paul had to carry this burden alone. Only Paul could hurt for Paul. Yet, even though he hurt, he could handle it because of Bible doctrine.
While these same Jews were unrelenting in their maligning and persecuting of Paul he was unrelenting in his concern and burden for them. Being a Jew and a believer in Christ, Paul understood the failure of Israel. He also understood the solution to the problem and he knew that the solution was still available.
Understanding the issue and having the burden intensified his concern for them but did not erase his honor code function. He didn’t change, get on a crusade, or get on a soap box. He carried on and never lost his honor. He moved on with Bible doctrine. Even though Paul was an apostle to the Gentiles he never abandoned his concern for the Jews and his desire for their salvation.
For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.
Paul was aware of the negative volition toward the Gospel and the negative volition toward Bible doctrine as expressed by his own people. He understood thoroughly and completely their problem and their difficulty. He was so burdened for them, knowing that they were destroying themselves. Over 20 years after Paul was writing they would be destroyed. This was his terrible burden, he could see it coming.
Because Paul was a believer, being accursed was impossible. It is impossible for any believer, no matter how apostate or how evil, to be separated from Christ. There is nothing the believer can do to separate himself from the Lord Jesus Christ. Once the believer is in union with Christ to be cursed is impossible.
This is just another illustration of the fact that there are certain things which prayer cannot change and which prayer cannot accomplish. Prayer cannot take away the believer’s salvation or his relationship with the Lord. Therefore, there is no prayer that anyone could utter that would change God’s mind about a single believer. Therefore to pray effectively you must understand doctrine so as not to waste your time.
To be a Jew and not to believe in Christ, the Messiah of Israel, was overwhelming to the apostle who saw the Jews as being so close and yet so far. In the very sacrifices that they offered they had the answer in their hands, but they failed to see that Jesus Christ was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises.
Israel was a client nation to God, the agent for missionary activity abroad and Bible teaching at home — God’s first client nation. In arrogance racial Jews had been emphasizing their physical heritage — Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and their physical relationship to these noble men. Therefore they emphasized physical birth and they distorted the doctrines which are found in the unconditional covenants, they distorted and misunderstood the promises with regard to Israel’s glorious future. And, to add to it, they personally were not able to recognize that the thing that made Israel great is not the physical relationship, not the racial relationship, but the spiritual seed of Abraham.
In order to help them understand it, Paul used the great doctrine of adoption where a natural son of a Roman was like a slave in the home until such time as he reached maturity. So the Jewish heritage was not the physical seed of Abraham, being a racial Jew, having the genes of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but it was the adoption of having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, Paul in expressing this point was developing the fantastic spiritual heritage of Israel, the greatest spiritual heritage in history. The heritage of Israel is important for us today because so many things from the Old Testament have direct application. If we are smart, we will profit by the failures of Israel. Obviously the Jews at the time that Paul wrote were missing the importance of their heritage. They failed to see their heritage in the light of doctrine and instead they saw it in terms of history. This resulted in human viewpoint rather than divine viewpoint.
Whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, Who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.
This is a continuation of the spiritual heritage of Israel with some other things added. This is a reference to the regenerate ancestry of Israel. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are the line of the Jewish race, the line of the seed of Abraham because each one was a believer and each one reached spiritual maturity. The secret to the foundation of the Jewish race is regeneration. Therefore, it was very difficult for Paul to see his fellow countrymen reject Christ as Savior. For while they were Jews, as the physical seed of Abraham, they were not Jews by regeneration. They had not followed the pattern of Abraham of Genesis 15:6.
The incarnation and resultant humanity of Christ does not in any way demote the second Person of the Trinity. Christ, although true humanity, continues to be eternal God forever and as God He still has all of the attributes of God as well as the attributes of perfect humanity. A clearer translation of this verse would be, “From whom are the fathers [the regenerate ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob], in fact from whom is the Christ (Messiah), the One Who came in the flesh, the One Who is God (Jehovah), ruler over all, blessed forever.”
The rest of the verse is a command to praise, to recognize and to fulfill the very purpose for which God founded the Jewish race. Israel had it all. Never before had anyone had the personal presence of God in their midst as a nation. That is because Israel was a client nation and because they were a priest nation. This was to be to their advantage because this was the only race, the only nation, the only people who were ever founded on a spiritual basis. The Jews had everything going for them. But here is the principle: You can have everything in the world going for you and still destroy it all with negative volition. There are two opportunities for negative volition. The first is at salvation and the second is a persistent negative volition toward doctrine after salvation. Here’s a lesson we can learn from the Jewish client nation – when any nation (especially a client nation) continually rejects God they will eventually be destroyed.