Grafted In

In chapter 8 Paul continues his thought from chapter 7. He starts by saying, “There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in the Messiah Yeshua.” The Greek word translated here as “condemnation” is katakrima, which doesn’t so much mean condemnation as it does mean the punishment which is a result of condemnation, or what we may call a judgment or sentence. Once we have received the righteousness of God through Yeshua, we are no longer bound to the death sentence which we merited because of our sinful nature. Being free from condemnation does not mean that we are free from any type of hard times or troubles (2 Corinthians 6:4-10), or free from experiencing discipline from the Lord when we stray (Job 5:17, Hebrews 12:4-13, Revelation 3:19). 

The reason there is no condemnation is because “through Messiah Yeshua the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2). This is the same point Paul was making in chapters 6-7: we have been freed from the eternal result of our transgressions because of the sacrifice of Yeshua. He also is continuing with the theme of a battle between the “Spirit” and the “flesh.” Once again Paul returns to his use of “law of sin and death” to mean the sinful human nature and our servitude to it, which results in spiritual death. We are no longer under that slavery, however, for we have been set free from the power of the sinful nature so that we may serve God (James 1:25). This also harks back to Deuteronomy 30:15+19 where God says, “See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction,” and then He goes on to say, “choose life that you may live”. 

So where does the problem come in? The problem is our human weakness which God has to deal with. The Torah brings man to the knowledge of sin. The problem was not the Torah in and of itself, but rather our sinful nature is the problem. Romans 8:3 says the Torah was “weakened by the sinful nature.” This does not mean that the Torah was made to be less than perfect, but that the power it gives to those who would walk in it was made void because of our inability to fulfill it. That is why God sent Yeshua in the likeness of sinful man, so that we may experience the fullness of the power of the Torah through the New Covenant.

The purpose of the New Covenant is explained in Jeremiah 31:33: “I will put my Torah in their minds and write it on their hearts.” So God sent His Son in the weakness of human limitation in order to set mankind free from the law of sin and death and to act as a sin offering. When Yeshua died on the cross, He did so willingly in order that He would become the “firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29). Just as His “flesh” died on the cross, so too our “flesh” must die so that we may live with Him (Romans 8:13, 2 Corinthians 4:11). 

In verse 4, Paul explains that one of the reasons God sent Yeshua was “so that the requirement of the Torah might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” The requirement of the Torah is perfect obedience to God’s statutes, ordinances, and laws (Deuteronomy 6:25). Yeshua fulfilled the Torah without fault because He is “the Lord of Righteousness.” That is why He is the end (that is, the goal) of the Torah for all who believe (Romans 10:4). His perfect fulfillment of the Torah had been God’s plan all along, and it is through His righteousness that we are considered righteous. The Torah does not benefit us if there is no way for us to obey it, and so Yeshua died so that we may also die to sin. So when we are baptized into Yeshua’s death and resurrection, we are cleansed by the Holy Spirit, and when we are filled with the Spirit, we are then able to fulfill God’s righteous decrees (Ezekiel 36:27). Our obedience is not what saves us, but we rely on Yeshua to live and work through us so that we may grow closer to God through obedience to His commands. 

After discussing the battle between the flesh and the Spirit within an individual, Paul begins to show what this looks like by contrasting in verses 5-8 two different types of men: the sons of light and the sons of darkness, those who walk by the Spirit and those who walk by the flesh:

For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the Torah, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

So we see once again the idea that man cannot serve two masters. He either serves the Spirit or the flesh; if he serves the flesh through sin, then he is unable to obey and please God, but if he serves God through the Spirit, then God’s grace strengthens his hands in obedience. In verse 8 the word translated “please” is the Greek word areisai. The root of this word is aresko which is a verb that Strong’s Concordance defines this way: “to please, with the idea of willing service rendered to others; hence almost: I serve.” This is equivalent to the Hebrew word hithalekh, which means to walk, as before God. So when we please God we are making Him our master and serving Him, walking according to His commandments. 

The same hostility that exists between flesh and Spirit is the same as that which currently divides Israel from the Gentile nations. Just as Yeshua is the only one who can bring both the flesh and the spirit into service to God, so too He is the only one who makes the two groups into one new man. 

Now in Romans 8:9-11, Paul addresses those who walk by the Spirit, saying that when we are walking in the Spirit, it is because the Spirit of God dwells within us. This naturally evokes the imagery of the tabernacle and the temple, where the presence of God tangibly dwelt in a powerful way. This physical manifestation of God’s glory was referred to in Jewish literature as the shekhina, which means “the dwelling presence of God.” This term is not found in Scripture, but is used in other literature to describe the manifestation of the glory of God (Exodus 33:14, 1 Kings 8:10-11). 

Paul compares this dwelling presence of God to Yeshua, “in whom the fullness of the Godhead dwells” (Colossians 1:19, 2:9). Just as the tabernacle housed the presence of God, so too when we prepare our hearts and allow the Spirit of Messiah to dwell in us, we become as a temple which houses His presence (1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 6:16-18). By the power of the Holy Spirit, God’s dwelling presence, our hearts of stone are turned to hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19). This “dwelling presence” is in the bodies of those who are faithful to Yeshua: “You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Messiah, he does not belong to Him” (Romans 8:9). The prophets spoke of this when they prophesied about the outpouring of the Spirit (Isaiah 32:15-17, Ezekiel 39:29, Joel 2:28-29). We do not have the fullness of this indwelling today, however, and that is the whole point of Paul’s message here in Romans 6-8. Although we have been inaugurated into the new covenant through the blood of Yeshua, the full promises of this new covenant have not been fulfilled (Jeremiah 31:33-34, 38-40; 32:37-41; 33:14-18). As a result, right now we are only able to experience the power of the Spirit in part of what it will be. We have only received a down payment as proof that we will one day receive the fullness and the fulfillment of these prophecies (2 Corinthians 1:20-22).

“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Yeshua from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Messiah Yeshua from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:11). Paul is continuing to contrast life and death. We know that Abraham’s body was “as good as dead,” and that the seed of Abraham, Isaac, was figuratively brought back to life when Abraham offered him on the mountain (Genesis 22). So also Yeshua, the promised seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16), was raised from the dead by the power of God’s dwelling presence. In the same way, He will also give us new life through the indwelling of His presence. 

In verse 12, Paul explains how this newness of life is going to change the way we live our life: “So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.” The phrase “under obligation” comes from the Greek word opheiletes, Literally translated, it refers to one who is under service, as in a bond-servant, or one who is bound, as to a master. This definition can be seen in the King James Version translation of the verse: “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.” So, the way that we please (serve) God is by putting to death the flesh as our master and being released from defilement through the Holy Spirit to serve our Creator. 

Paul goes on to say that if we are led by the Spirit as described above, then we are sons of God (verses 14-17). He makes it clear that all who are led by the Spirit are God’s children, both Jew and Gentile (Romans 2:10-11). We can only walk in this way through the circumcision of our hearts by the Spirit of holiness (Romans 2:29). There was an idea in Jewish thought which was common in Paul’s day about the merits of a son over that of a servant. God refers to the people of Israel as both sons and servants (Deuteronomy 14:1, Leviticus 25:55), as is everyone else who follows God (Titus 1:1, Galatians 3:26). The status of a son is higher than that of a servant, and yet the role of each is used to illustrate a particular aspect of the life of a believer. We must be careful when interpreting Scripture to recognize where similar analogies differ so that we will not be confused by their meaning. 

In this particular passage, Paul uses the comparison between son and servant to represent love and fear. The son serves the father out of love and a desire to please his father, but the servant serves out of fear of punishment. So without God’s adoption, we are orphans, having no hope in the world (Galatians 4:5, Ephesians 2:12). Paul says that because we are now sons, we are no longer bound to serve him out of fear, but as sons out of love. 

As we continue with this thought, we should keep in mind that Paul is using these terms as an illustration, for elsewhere in Scripture the terminology of being a servant is used in a positive light (e.g. John 12:26, Revelation 22:9). The point he is making here is that the true sons of Abraham serve God out of love, not fear of His wrath, and have died to sin by being raised to newness of life with Yeshua (Romans 6:3, 7:1, 8:1). It is also important to note that the fear Paul mentions is not the fear/awe of the Lord, but is a fear of eternal punishment. What’s the difference? The first is vital to our relationship with God (Ecclesiastes 12:13, 1 Peter 2:17, Revelation 14:6-7), while the second shows a lack of faith in the atoning power of Yeshua (1 John 4:18). 

Prior to coming to faith in Yeshua, we were slaves to our sinful nature, following our own desires to our own spiritual harm, living in fear of death. Now that we have been freed through the sacrifice of Yeshua, we are not to serve God with a constant fear of not being good enough to receive justification, “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons” (Romans 8:15). Where does Paul get this idea of adoption? The idea of a foster-father or a guardian is found in several Biblical texts. For example, in Psalm 27:10, David says “though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.” David reasoned that even if his parents abandoned him, the Lord would receive (adopt) him. Other references to guardians or foster-fathers are Ruth 4:16, 2 Kings 10:1, and Isaiah 49:23. Yeshua tells His disciples that He will not leave them as orphans, but that the Holy Spirit will be as a guardian to them (John 14:16-18). Bearing all of this in mind with his previous arguments, Paul concludes that by putting to death the flesh, we have now received this adoption as sons of God. 

Our adoption as God’s son is made legal by witnesses. Biblical law requires two witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15, Matthew 18:16). Paul informs us that there are two witnesses which make our adoption “legal”: “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also.” (Romans 8:16-17). A slave does not inherit the father’s property, but rather the son does. Therefore when we receive our adoption as sons, we also receive the promises and blessings associated with being an heir. Paul began this idea of us being fellow-heirs with Israel in Romans 4. Abraham is the father of both Israel and the Gentiles because his faithfulness came prior to his act of circumcision. It is as if we become his children when we exhibit the same faith in God which carried him through his life. 

Not only are we now adopted as fellow heirs with the people of God, but Paul takes it a step further and calls us co-heirs with Yeshua (verse 17). How is this possible? Because of what he says in Galatians 3:16. There he says that Messiah is the promised “seed” of Abraham. So if we are adopted as sons of Abraham and Yeshua is also the seed of Abraham, then we are co-heirs with Yeshua. Yeshua’s death and resurrection made Him “the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29). 

Paul says that we know we are co-heirs with Yeshua if we “share in His sufferings” (Romans 8:17). How is it that we do this? Are we supposed to intentionally cause ourselves physical harm? Obviously not, but rather when we crucify our sinful nature through Messiah, we join with Him in His death, which allows us to share in his resurrection (Romans 5:1-11, 12:1). We also experience various persecutions and trials, and when we patiently share in His suffering through these times, we can be confident that we will also share in His glory. 

Many Scriptures refer not only to Messiah’s suffering, but also of Him “coming on the clouds with power and glory” (Mark 13:26). The glory Paul tells us we shall partake of if we are indeed co-heirs with the Messiah is the coming Kingdom of God. We see in Matthew 5:3-12 that there is reward, or glory, based on endurance of persecution and faithfulness to God in Yeshua. 

To recap, Paul is instructing us about our relationship with God now that we have been set free from the sinful nature. Just as Yeshua’s body was resurrected, so too we have been resurrected to life in Him so that we may serve Him: not as slaves who work out of fear of losing their position, but as sons who lovingly work, knowing that they will receive their inheritance if they remain diligent and work out of love for their father. Because we have been brought to life with Yeshua, we must also go through the sufferings He went through: not necessarily scourging and crucifixion as He bore, but we must put to death the deeds of the flesh and expect that we will go through hard times of discipline and persecution. These times are the proof that we will one day share in the glory of Yeshua. Because we are co-heirs with Him, we can expect to receive glorification and resurrection just as He did. 

This time of glorification is what the entire world looks ahead to: “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God” (Romans 8:19). The word translated here as “anxious longing” is apokaradokia, and it is a word that is not observed in use much before the year 200 BC. It finds a suitable translation into Hebrew as the word ta’arog. This is from a root word found in Psalm 42:1, “My soul pants for Thee O God.” It also appears in Joel 1:20 where it says, “Even the beasts of the field pant for You.” The creation longs and even pants for the restoration which will take place in the Messianic Age. God will restore glory to the “sons of man” when he destroys darkness in the final, awful day of judgment, when the whole world will be liberated. When this happens, God will reveal the glory of his sons to the whole of creation when He clothes us in garments of honor, which are given to us through the victory of Yeshua, and our bodies are transformed into imperishable spiritual bodies. 

Not only will we, the children of Adam, be returned to our original state of glory, but Paul goes on to say in Romans 8:20-21 that God will restore nature, which in the present day lies under the curse because of man’s disobedience. All of creation hopes for rebirth. In order that every wrong may be made right, God promised that He would make a new heaven and a new earth (Isaiah 65:17, 66:22). In that day, Paul says that the freedom from sin and death that we experience through Yeshua will be extended to all of creation. Our victory over the evil inclination will eventually be extended to include every part of creation when the ruler of this world is finally destroyed at the end of times (Revelation 20:10, 20:1-3). 

Not only does creation “pant” and long for this day, but Paul continues in verse 22: “the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.” Several Scriptures allude to the fact that before the coming of the Messiah, there will be a time of suffering that will come, which the rabbis referred to as the “birth pangs of Messiah” (Isaiah 21:3, Jeremiah 4:31, 13:21, Mark 13:8). Birth does not come without distress, and in the same way we see that through the most difficult and lamentable of times comes the greatest fulfillment of hope. 

This is the idea Paul is presenting here concerning the pains of childbirth. It is not only creation that groans, but we who have been renewed through Yeshua also groan while we wait for this final redemption to come. In Jewish Biblical interpretation, there is a form of logic called kal v’chomer, which literally means “Light and heavy.” It’s a way of linking two ideas together by saying, “if a is true, then how much more is b true.” We can see examples of this in Proverbs 11:31, Luke 11:13, and 2 Corinthians 3:9, to name a few. Paul uses this method to compare the fact that if the whole of creation is groaning while it waits for redemption, how much more do we groan as we await physical redemption (2 Corinthians 5:1-10). 

“And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body” (Romans 7:23). The mention of first fruits here is an allusion to the first fruits which were offered at the festival of Shavuot, also called Pentecost. Shavuot is also the day when the Torah was given on Mt. Sinai. In Judaism, there is a tradition that in Exodus 20:18, when the people saw the thunder and lightning, that God’s words appeared like tongues of fire (Jeremiah 23:29). As we know, this is the same thing that happened on the day of Pentecost in the book of Acts (Acts 2:3). So at the first Shavuot the Torah was written on tablets of stone, and in Acts 2, the giving of the Spirit is like the writing of the Torah on the hearts of man (Ezekiel 36:27, Joel 2:28, 

1 Peter 1:1-2). Since God’s gift of the Holy Spirit cleanses us from the impurity of the flesh (sin) and brings us into eternal life, we become like a spiritual offering. But this is still only the first fruits: we have not received the fullness, and that is why we groan within ourselves (Ephesians 1:13-14, 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, 5:5). 

Romans 8:25 says, “If we hope for what we do not have, we wait for it patiently.” Because we have died to sin and become sons of God through Yeshua, we have been sealed for the World to Come. As we wait patiently, Paul says we groan, just like the creation. But man’s groaning is linked to the Holy Spirit. Because of our weakness and inability to master our own evil inclination, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us by giving us the words to praise God (verse 26). God is the one who searches our hearts through His Spirit (Psalm 7:9, 1 Samuel 16:7). 

Proverbs 20:27 says, “The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all the innermost parts of his being.” The traditional use of this verse in Judaism is that God’s Spirit searches out man’s intentions. The church father Clement of Alexandria used the same interpretation when he quotes this verse in his first letter to the Corinthians, replacing “lamp of the Lord” with “Spirit of the Lord.” It is also possible that this is the same thought behind Luke 2:35, where it says “so the thoughts of many will be revealed, and a sword will pierce your heart also.” This language is also similar to that in Hebrews 4:12, where it is said that the Word of God pierces as far as the division of soul and spirit, joint and marrow, and is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. So what Paul is saying here is that the Spirit of God searches and knows man’s thoughts, He intercedes for them, frees them from the evil inclination, and gives them knowledge according to His will. 

So even though we experience anguish alongside creation at the fact that we are not yet glorified and have not yet received the fullness of our inheritance, the Holy Spirit consoles us and gives us the ability to persevere. God discerns our emotions and desires and encourages us to continue doing good and seeking the Kingdom while convicting us of our sin and giving us wisdom in how to conduct ourselves in accord with righteousness.

Moving on in Romans, Paul continues his theme of redemption as he begins talking about God’s intervening power for those who love Him. God’s plan for those who follow and love Him is important for Paul to convey (1 Corinthians 2:9, 8:3). The saints are referred to as those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Jeremiah 29:11 says, “I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” The plan and the good purpose in this verse was to send the Messiah to redeem His people and to one day bring them back to the land, as this prophetic word was spoken to them while they were in exile. Isaiah 61:1-2 also speaks of the favorable year of the Lord and the anointing of the elect for the purpose of bringing this about. Therefore Paul is trying to link the intercessory role of Yeshua with the election and redemption of Israel. 

All of this has to do with the theme of election (Romans 8:33). The term election means “a choosing or selecting of a person or group.” Paul has shown how this election is not only for the Jews, but for the Gentiles as well. As we observed earlier, the general belief of the Jewish people was that Israel alone was called and elected by God for the purpose of serving Him. In Romans 1-3, Paul explained that although the pagan nations were involved in idolatry, Israel also fell into this trap, as well as other sins. He showed that God renders to each man according to his deeds (Romans 2:12-29). In chapter 3:1, he spoke of God’s unbreakable covenant with Israel and the fact that all men are equal in God’s sight because all have sinned (Romans 3:9). 

Since we are all equal in God’s sight, the opportunity has been opened for all to be equal in faithfulness to Yeshua. Therefore the election is not based solely on nationality, but is set to include those who join themselves to Israel through faith in the God of Israel. The election of Israel is not negated, but rather we receive our election through faith based on the election and the Messiah of Israel. Although God has now brought the nations into His promises, He will still be faithful to His promises to the nation of Israel and work all things together for their good. He has not forsaken them and has assured them that the year of His good favor will come upon them. 

Paul uses many words to describe election such as “foreknew,” “predestined,” “called,” “justified,” and “glorified.” In Romans 8:29-30, he lists these in ascending order, like a series of acts. The result of election is that God glorifies his people through Yeshua and gives gifts of righteousness to all who are faithful to God through Yeshua, both Jew and Gentile. 

Paul has been making the argument that just because God has brought the Gentiles into the promises and Israel as a nation has been generally unfaithful in receiving the Messiah, this does not mean that God has forsaken the nation of Israel. Paul continues this argument through the rest of this chapter and through chapter 11

As if he were in a court of law, he refutes any possible objections when he says, “What shall we say then?” as if he is answering someone’s objection. His response is that “if God is for us, who can be against us?” (verse 31). The sign that God’s unconditional love for Israel is still intact is His son, Yeshua. Abraham was willing to offer his own son (Genesis 22), but God spared Abraham’s son Isaac in order to keep His promise to carry on Abraham’s seed. In response to Abraham’s faithfulness, God confirmed His continued election of His people Israel by not sparing his own Son (2 Corinthians 1:20). Both Israel and the Gentiles share in the work of Yeshua, but it is God’s faithfulness to His election of the nation of Israel that brought salvation to the whole world through His gift of righteousness in the Messiah Yeshua (Romans 9:4-5, Ephesians 2:12-13). 

Paul continues using these legal terms: “Who can bring a charge against God’s elect?” (Romans 8:33). Paul argues that because God, who is Judge of all creation (Psalm 96:13), is Israel’s “father” (Malachi 1:6), no one can bring charges against them because He has given them grace and favor through Yeshua’s righteousness. This grace is available to all who believe so that we can walk in the spirit of holiness. 

“Who is the one who condemns? Messiah Yeshua is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us” (verse 34). When Paul uses the word “intercession,” it is to be understood as in a legal sense. No one can bring a charge against God’s elect because Yeshua Himself is our justification, and He pleads our case for us. 

Paul is refuting the argument that because the collective nation of Israel rejected Yeshua, that God is no longer their justifier. The very fact that God sent his Son proves God’s love for His people. Yeshua’s death brings life to His people. He does not condemn, but intercedes on their behalf (John 3:16-18). It is through God’s faithfulness to Israel that we share in their blessings. 

Paul says that Yeshua is at God’s right hand making intercession on behalf of His people. Isaiah 9:6 calls one of the names of the Messiah “Wonderful Counselor.” This fits into Paul’s legal argument, as if Messiah serves as legal counsel for the people. Daniel 7:13-14 depicts the Messiah as interceding before God at the end of days. So if Yeshua is the one who intercedes on behalf of God’s chosen, then how can He condemn them? He cannot condemn them, because He is at the right hand of the Father, interceding on their behalf. 

God, like the loving Father He is, expressed that love for His people in sending the Messiah Yeshua (1 John 4:10). Paul says that nothing can separate Israel from the love of God, and by extension nothing can separate us of the nations from the love of God when we join ourselves to Israel through faith in Yeshua (Romans 8:38-39). Even their temporary rejection does not nullify their election, and their tribulations and distress do not show that God has forsaken them. Even those who receive Yeshua as their Messiah suffer these things (Matthew 5:11, Mark 13:9, 1 Corinthians 4:11-13). 

Even though we experience these trials and persecutions, these do not show that God has forsaken His people. In Romans 8:36, Paul quotes Psalm 44:22: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” This verse is used to describe a principle in Jewish thought called Kiddish HaShem, which means “the sanctification of God’s Name.” One of the ultimate ways that God’s Name is sanctified is through martyrdom. When a person chooses death over renouncing his beliefs or convictions, this act brings glory to God’s Name. Paul quotes this verse that depicts Israel as sheep to be slaughtered, as if the people are asking God, “If you love us so much, how come you kill us?” Paul is telling us that Israel is God’s chosen, and nothing can separate them from God’s love. The people of Israel, including those from the nations who come to God through Yeshua, can find themselves suffering even when they are walking in obedience. When this happens, we are being persecuted for bearing God’s name. 

In verse 35, Paul lists some things which some may perceive as able to come between us and God, but continuing into verses 37-39, he states that he is confident that nothing is able to separate us from the love of God in Yeshua. In speaking of our overwhelming victory over those things, he uses a rarely used compound form of the Greek root word nikao, which means to be victorious. The word he uses is hupernikomen which means to be more than a conqueror. The LXX uses the same word to translate a phrase in Psalm 51:4 that Paul quotes in Romans 3:4. The Hebrew of that verse says, “you shall be made blameless (justified) in your judgments,” and in the LXX it says, “you shall be victorious (hupernikomen) in your judgments.” So when Paul says that we have overcome tribulation, distress, and persecution, it means that we find our righteousness by God through these things, becoming one with Yeshua in His sufferings. 

Yeshua intercedes on the behalf of Israel and all of us who have joined with them in faithfulness to God. All who are the sons of God have victory over the evil inclination, over those who rebel against God, and over those who claim Israel is rejected as God’s people. Paul ends the chapter by restating his conviction that God has not rejected His people, and nothing can separate them from His love. There is nothing in all of creation that can separate God’s elect from Him: nothing from the past, in the present, nor in things to come. Nothing from Israel’s history, whether faithfulness or the lack thereof, can invalidate the promises God has made.

In concluding this section, we need to remember several things. Torah observance does not free a person from the evil inclination; that was never its purpose. First, we must die to the sinful nature through the righteousness of the Messiah Yeshua. Only then are we free from the penalty of sin and can experience regeneration so that we may obey God’s Torah in faith. As long as we are bound by the evil inclination, it is impossible for us to please, or serve, God. As far as the election of Israel goes, we need to remember that just because the children of Israel rejected Yeshua, that does not mean that God has rejected the whole nation or removed His blessing from them. The very fact that He sent His Son proves that He has not rejected them, and we become grafted in among them, becoming co-heirs with Israel and with Messiah as sons of Abraham through faith.  

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