Tuesday, 7th December 2021
Rev Daniel Xi An Poon
Section One V1-13 Walk Out of Blindness
V1-5 ‘I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.’ Who are the true Israelites? Those who are not living in blindness. Every promise God mentions in the Bible is for Abraham and the Israelites, but why was Paul having the great sorrow and grief in his heart? Because he saw the Israelites not living by this grace. They wanted to be saved by their actions, but not by their faith.
V6-9 ‘But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. For this is the word of promise: “At this time I will come, and Sarah shall have a son.”’ Why was Isaac so special? Abraham had other sons but only Isaac was chosen. Because of grace, not by whatever Isaac has done, because he did nothing, the only thing he did was listen and obey. But the Israelites lived in blindness, they did not see this grace of being the chosen ones, they lived by the religious rituals.
V10-13 ‘And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”’ We cannot be made self-righteous by our actions, and we cannot be saved by what we do, but by what we believe in. Do we believe that we are the chosen ones by God, not because of our good deeds, but only because of God’s grace? We must put our focus back on God, not on ourselves.
Section Two V14-29 It’s All About God
V14 ‘What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not!’ Do we think God is not fair? Who are we do say if God is fair or not? What do we use to measure the fairness? Our standard or God’s standard? What we see with our eyes is not just one thing, but a composition of many things. In the same way, when something happens, we will take our own perspective to make our own judgment, but is out perspective the only perspective? And is our judgement righteous? We can never say if something is fair or unfair. It’s just like when the disciple’s mother came to Jesus and asked to sit her children next to Jesus, then Jesus answered her that she did not know what she was asking.
The Israelites also had the same attitude, they thought only they were the righteous ones, because they obeyed the law, and they looked down on the gentiles. The Israelites saw themselves higher than other people, but they did not see that everything is actually about God, not about themselves. We must step out from our comfort zone and preach the Gospel, do not think that they will not accept it, because only God can make the decision of who He will give the grace to. This was the problem the churches in Rome were facing, and this is also the problem the Christians nowadays are facing. We are in a ‘doing’ mode, being the judge of who is right or wrong, and not ‘loving our neighbours as ourselves’.
What’s our attitude towards the Word of God? Do we read it and proclaim it? Or do we just quickly browse through because we have to as Christians? God’s Word is powerful, and when it is proclaimed, the power will be released. Don’t let the words of the world come out from our mouths but let the Word of God continue to be on our tongues. This is not natural, because the world’s teaching is opposite to God’s teaching, therefore that’s why we must discipline our body and bring it into subjection. Furthermore, we should not use out words to control others or to control God, because our mouth should speak the words of encouragement and blessings, not curses.
Section Three V30-33 Just Believe
V30-31 ‘What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness.’ We must ask by faith, not by our ‘doing’. We do because we are willing to humble and obey; to deny ourselves and benefit others. When we live out our ‘being’ then we can see God’s grace pouring out to us, because we believe God’s is with us. His grace is sufficient for us, do not be afraid. The Israelites lived under the law because they were afraid; but the more they were afraid, the less their love was for God. They forgot about God, they only knew the law, what they could do and what they could not do. May God help us, to simply believe God is our God, and when we are willing to listen like Isaac did, then we can see God is love.
罗马书 9 – 真以色列人
罗马书第9章字面上讲的是以色列人，但我们也是如同以色列人一样，是蒙恩的罪人，我们凭自己没有什么可夸的，我们蒙拣选都是靠神的恩典，使我们也能成为亚伯拉罕的后裔。保罗时代的以色列人以为得救是凭自己的doing – 就好像我们现在的基督徒以为靠自己的好行为（守主日、读经祷告等）可以称义。我们不要学习假的以色列人以至于活在蒙蔽里。
V1-4，7 那些“自己被咒诅，与基督分离”的人本来是有与基督一起的关系，如今才会分离，分离的原因是“自己被诅咒”。以色列人是亚伯拉罕的后裔，圣经里面讲的“儿子的名分、荣耀、诸约、律法、礼仪、应许”原本都是属于以色列人的。然而，以色列人沉醉于遵守那些律法，没有因信得救，以为自己是靠行为得救 。其实以色列人唯独可夸的只有说他们是亚伯拉罕的后裔。但是，“也不因为是亚伯拉罕的后裔，就都做他的儿女，唯独‘从以撒生的，才要称为你的后裔’”- 以撒本人并没有什么了不起的地方，但他愿意听自己父亲的话，无论是被献祭还是娶利百加为妻，他都顺服。神拣选以撒，不是因为他的行为。可是以色列人没有为神的拣选感恩，只是活在一个宗教仪式里 – 这让保罗“大有忧愁，心里时常伤痛”。神拣选谁就恩待谁。我们若是靠自己的行为称义，我们就无法活在生命树之下。以色列人就是靠着行为活在律法之下，所以被定罪。
V10-13 神拣选雅各 – 虽然雅各看上去很诡诈。无论是以色列人或外邦人，我们蒙召得救都是恩典，是神的拣选，不是因为我们能守律法或者我们是亚伯拉罕的子孙。当我们知道这一点我们才会更谦卑顺服，活在生命树下。以色列人没有看神的恩典，只看到什么能做什么不能做，活在使人蒙蔽的分辨善恶树下。
V14-18 当我们说“公平”的时候，公平不是以人的标准来定，唯有神说的公平才算。所有的东西都在乎神，神要恩待谁就恩待谁，但我们想要的是操控神，让他做我们想要的事，不愿意谦卑。当时的以色列人看不起行为上不如他们的外邦人，也没办法去爱他们，然而，保罗说一切都在乎神。我们有时也无法去爱那些未信主的人，不愿意去传福音给那些我们无法爱的人，因为我们没有办法谦卑，我们只对自己宽容，却无法宽容别人。我们最好的不是能够帮别人做什么，而是有救恩的确据。神的话语是有力量的，我们平时不仅要读，更要宣告出来，我们的里面才不会被世界的污秽充满。要记住我们是蒙恩的罪人，一切都在乎神，所以我们更要放下情欲，“叫身服我”。我们是否愿意“先神后人再大地”? 我们要在生活中的每一件事情上荣耀神，神让任何一件事情临到我们，都会给我们加添力量。遇到不顺、挑战的时候，不要发怨言，只要感谢神，倚靠神，就看到神的恩典。