1 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit,
Chapter nine begins an entirely new division of Romans (chapters 9 through 11). These chapters will demonstrate God’s justice in dealing with Israel. This is what we call a theodicy—a defense of the character, righteousness, and justice of God. Divine administration is just. God is therefore just in rejecting unbelieving Israel.
Romans eight concluded that nothing can separate the believer from eternal life, from God’s love for them (8:35-39). Now the question arose: “What about Israel? Has God changed His mind about saving Israel?” Paul concluded chapters 9 to 11 with the statement, “The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable” (9:29). If God’s promises are irrevocable, why is it that Israel is out of phase with God?
These chapters are not a parenthesis, as some suggest, but are integral to the argument of the book. The argument of these chapters is that God is “righteous” whether in justification (declared righteous) or in any other form of righteousness. God is just in His dealing with the nation Israel. Mere physical decent from Abraham is not enough to declare an Israelite righteous; he must accept God’s promise by faith (9:10-13). Unbelieving Israel tried to establish her own righteousness by works and this was her fatal flaw. She should have believed the promise of justification by faith (Ge 12:6).
Having established in chapter eight the glorious privileges of the church, Paul now dealt with the apostasy of the nation Israel. Their apostate state was willful but not universal; however, there will be a day when Israel as a nation turns to God and is restored as God’s chosen people. In the meantime God would call out a remnant of Jews to Himself—“they are not all Israel which are of Israel.” The remnant was God’s guarantee that the entire nation of Israel will be restored one day.
Chapters 9 through 11 demonstrate that God is sovereign by His (1) raising up a remnant from the nation Israel who, for the most part, stumbled over the Messiah, and by His (2) bringing a number of Gentiles to the Messiah by faith..
We can divide chapters 9 to 11 into three segments:
God’s past transactions with Israel, chapter 9
God’s present transactions with Israel, chapter 10
God’s future transactions with Israel, chapter 11
1 I tell the truth in Christ,
What Paul was about to say regarding Israel he related solemnly to the truth that is in Christ. He spoke from the viewpoint of all that Christ represents.
I am not lying,
There is integrity to what Paul asserted here. He did not operate on the principle of expediency.
my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit,
Paul’s assertion about Israel was done with a pure conscience under the “witness of the Holy Spirit.” His statement has the authenticity of inspiration of Scripture.
Paul gave three authentications of what he was about to say:
The witness of Christ
A negative affirmation
An appeal to his conscience and the Holy Spirit as co-witnesses
To be an authentic guide, the conscience requires the presence of the Holy Spirit.
We cannot let our conscience in isolation from anything else be our guide. It is too unreliable. It has the possibility of being seared with scar tissue. Every conscience is corrupted by the sin capacity and acts of sin.
1 Ti 4: 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,
The conscience needs to operate under subjection to the Holy Spirit. That is the only time when we can trust it.