Chapter # 9 Paragraph # 1 Study # 2
Thesis: Paul both anticipated and contradicted the Jewish accusation of "hateful theology".
Introduction: In our introduction last week we considered two indisputable facts that lie at the roots of the content of Romans 9-11: Israel rejected both God's major shift in the theological focus of His Message and His major shift of the audience for His Message. Because of these two major shifts, and Israel's abject refusal to accept them, a need was created to explain the legitimacy of The Gospel in the face of Israel's charge that Paul's message was a "damnable heresy".
At the root of Israel's charge lay an attack against Paul in terms of his motivation for the extensive, and effective, proclamation of what he called the "Gospel of God". It was Paul's anticipation of this accusation of motivation that formed the basis of Romans 9:1-5. Therefore, this evening we are going to look into both Paul's anticipation of the accusation and his contradiction of it.
October 8, 2017
- I. The Anticipated Accusation.
- A. Paul's "theology" arose out of a deep-seated hatred for Israel.
- 1. This seems to be the only rationale for Paul's extremely abrupt shift of topic between the end of Romans 8 and the beginning of Romans 9.
- a. There is no particular need for Paul to profess a, frankly, unbelievable degree of selfless love for Israel unless there has been an accusation made that, if left to stand, would undercut the legitimacy of his message.
- 1) The Jewish leadership felt the need to make these kinds of accusations against Paul's Christ in Mark 3:22 in order to attempt to blunt the attractiveness of Jesus' message.
- 2) They, then, transferred the attack to Paul (Acts 17:5-6 and 21:28 and 22:21-22) for the same reason.
- b. Such an unbelievable claim has to have a pretty critical basis.
- 2. This is an astute accusation because it strikes at the very heart of Paul's behavior and, if left to stand, makes his message fundamentally invalid as a message of "hate" for the people of God.
- B. Therefore, Paul's "Theology" was that of an extremely deceitful and hateful "god".
- 1. The Jews were well aware of the link between one's own motivations and one's perception of the character of one's "God".
- 2. If the accusation can be made and be left unanswered, no thoughtful Jew (or, even Gentile) would be tempted to believe such a message from such a "god".
- C. Thus, the anticipated accusation boils down to one charge: "Hate" is the real root of The Gospel of Paul.
- II. Paul's Contradiction of the Accusation.
- A. Began with his constant affirmation of the Love of God for sinners to the degree that He gave His own Son up to death for them.
- B. Continued up to the doctrine of Romans 8:38 where God's love is indestructible by any means known to man.
- C. Is now flatly contradicted.
- 1. Paul's three-fold affirmation of his real motivation.
- a. Truth I am declaring in Christ.
- 1) The emphasis upon "truth" is necessary because without it, there is no "Gospel".
- 2) The use of the verb translated "I say" is the use of the most content-critical word the Greeks had for emphasis upon that content.
- 3) Thus, "truth" as "content" is the first of Paul's claims.
- b. I am not lying.
- 1) The emphasis in this phrase is upon "not".
- 2) The contrast of "truth" with "lying" is obvious and clarifying.
- 3) Truth, as opposed to lies, is the most crucial "faith" issue of all considerations.
- c. The Holy Spirit is creating an affirmative witness to my own conscience.
- 1) A "fellow-witness" issue is created by Paul as a contradiction to the possibility that he was "sincere", just "wrong".
- 2) At this point Paul's claim moves into the arena of possible blasphemy: claiming the activity of the Holy Spirit as a "bolster" to his claim is either "truth" or it is overt and extraordinarily dangerous.
- d. This three-fold affirmation of true motivation does not settle the issue of the charge of "hate", but it complicates it significantly: the adversaries can call him a liar but they cannot prove he is lying. This is BIG because it seriously blunts their approach and is in exact harmony with Paul's "gospel" where "love" is willing to accept the worst for someone else's sake.
- 2. Paul's two-fold description of his own emotional state in respect to Israel.
- a. Grief is great to me.
- b. Unceasing pain [exists] in my heart.
- 3. Paul's single claim of profound love for Israel: I was praying to be anathema from Christ for the sake of Israel.