Descendants of Abraham are the children of Isaac and Rebecca. Only the descendants of Isaac are the children of the promise. Jacob’s name was changed to Israel.
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1. “Only when the Spirit controls the conscience can it be trusted—but it remains imperfect and its warnings must always be evaluated against the Word of God (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:3-5).” (MacArthur, John, The MacArthur Bible Commentary. [Nashville, Thomas Nelson Inc., 2005], 1534)
Paul “spoke the truth ‘in Christ,’ that is, in the presence of and accountable to the one who in his very nature is truth (John 14:6). Paul’s conscience, enlightened by the Holy spirit, assured him that he was speaking the truth.” (Mounce, Robert H, The New American Commentary, Volume 27, Romans. [Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995], 195)
2. “Paul was burdened with a great weight of sorrow. His heart was continually in anguish for his Jewish family.” (Mounce, 195)
3. Accursed. [NKJV] “The Greek word is anathema, which means ‘to devote to destruction in eternal hell’ (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:3; 16:22; Galatians 1:8-9).” (MacArthur, 1535)
Paul’s “heart was continually in anguish for his Jewish family. In fact, he could almost wish himself cursed by God and cut off from Christ if that would in some way benefit his kinsmen by race.” (Mounce, 195)
He wanted to take their place so they could be saved!
4. Israelites. “The descendants of Abraham through Jacob, whose name God changed to Israel (Genesis 32:28.” (MacArthur, 1535)
“Paul listed seven historic prerogatives that God had given to Israel.” (Mounce, 196)
(1). “Privileges of sonship belonged to them.” (Mounce, 196)
(5). Giving of the law
(6). Service of God
5. Fathers [NKJV]. “The patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, through whom the promises of the Messiah were fulfilled.” (MacArthur, 1536)
“The purpose of all of this blessing was that Jesus Christ, through Israel, might come into the world. (Note that Romans 9:5 affirms that Jesus Christ is from God.)” (Wiersbe, Warren W, The Bible Exposition Commentary New Testament Volume 1 Matthew-Galatians. [Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2004], 543)
Christ “came according to the flesh. When He came to this earth, He was a Jew.” (McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume IV. [Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983], 711)
Christ…the eternally blessed God. [NKJV]. “This is not intended primarily as a benediction, but as an affirmation of the sovereignty and deity of Christ.” (MacArthur, 1536)
Descended from Israel
6. Word of God. [NKJV]. “This refers specifically to the privileges and promises God had revealed to Israel (v. 4; cf. Isaiah 55:11; Jeremiah 32:42).” (MacArthur 15367)
“Not everyone descended from the patriarch Israel belonged to Israel the people of God.” (Mounce, 197)
“It will be the children who are born in fulfillment of the promise, and not those born in the course of nature, who will be regarded as Abraham’s true descendants.” (Mounce 197)
7. “Not everyone descended from the patriarch Israel belong to Israel the people of God. Nor because they have descended from Abraham are they necessarily Abraham’s children (cf. Romans 2:28-29; cf. Galatians 6:16). (Mounce, 197) Genesis 21:12
8. “The apostle Paul makes a clear distinction between the elect and the nonelect in the nation Israel. ‘The children of the flesh’ are not the children of God. ‘The children of the promise’ are the ones counted for the seed.” (McGee, 712)
9. “The promise to Abraham was that about a year later the Lord would return and Sarah would have a son (Genesis 18:10-14). Isaac, not Ishmael, was the child of promise. As God chose Isaac rather that Ishmael, so also does he now choose to bless those who by placing their faith in Christ became the true children of Abraham.” (Mounce, 198)
“Spiritual kinship, not ethnic origin, determined who was a true Israelite.” (Mounce, 198)
10. “Isaac and Rebecca had twin sons, Esau and Jacob. As the firstborn, Esau should have been chosen, but it was Jacob that God chose.” (Wiersbe, 543)
11. “God chose Jacob before the babies were born. The two boys had done neither good or evil, so God’s choice was not based on their character or conduct.” (Wiersbe, 543) Malachi 1:2-3
“Paul makes the entire choice rest upon ‘the purpose of God according to election.’” (McGee, 712)
12. “This is a quotation from Genesis 25:23, which was given before the two boys were born.” (McGee, 712)
13. “Malachi, who wrote this declaration more that 1,500 years after their death, was looking back at these two men—and by extension the nations (Israel and Edom) that came from their loins. God chose one for divine blessing and protection, and the other He left to divine judgment.” (MacArthur, 1537)
Paul “was arguing that the exclusion of so many Jews from the family of God did not constitute a failure on God’s part to maintain his covenant relationship with Israel. He had not broken his promise to the descendants pf Abraham.” (Mounce, 199)
Amplified Bible (AMP)
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Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.
New King James Version (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
In this article Scripture quotations taken from KJV.
McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume IV. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983
MacArthur, John, The MacArthur Bible Commentary. Nashville, Thomas Nelson Inc., 2005
Mounce, Robert H, The New American Commentary, Volume 27, Romans. Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995
Wiersbe, Warren W, The Bible Exposition Commentary New Testament Volume 1 Matthew-Galatians. Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2004