As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father's sakes.…
I. PRIOR TO THE PROMULGATION OF THE GOSPEL. It was the relation of —
1. Sole depositories of the Word of God (Psalm 76.; Amos 3:2). They had a revelation of Jehovah, while the others were in that ignorance at which the apostle declares God "winked."
2. The channels for the transmission of the promised seed, in which all the nations of the earth were to be blessed. The tribe of Judah contained within it a sacred deposit, the God-man, the Saviour of the world. In this sense, "salvation is of the Jews," the world was preserved for their sake. 3 The main spring of the politics of the world. Kings and empires were set up and cast down for their sakes.
II. SINCE THE GOSPEL. This must be regarded —
1. As it respects the remnant of the Jewish people converted to the Christian faith, according to the election of grace. These formed the stem of the Christian Church, Jesus Christ Himself, the founder of the Christian system, being a Jew according to the flesh. They were the first to be taken into union with Him; the first branches from Him the living stem; the first members of the body of which He is the head. They were not taken into fellowship with Gentiles, but Gentile converts were taken into fellowship with them (Ephesians 2:12-22; Ephesians 3:10). The relation, therefore, is that of brethen in Christ Jesus. And the relation which the Church, thus formed, bears to the world around is of the same nature as that which the Jews once bare to the Gentiles. The Christian Church —
(1) Is the sole depository of the truth. In this Church alone is Christ to be found; and in the Church alone, therefore, can God be known.
(2) Has deposited within her the true seed which is to become a blessing to all the earth.
(3) Is the main spring of the politics of the world. Can any man think on this subject with the Bible before him, and then deny that such men as Decius, Julian, Charlemagne, Napoleon, and others, were raised up for the promotion, in one way or other, of the interests of the Church.
2. As it respects the Jews as a nation. "As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes"; not the remnant — they are converted — but the nation. But though thus cast off for our sakes, they are not cast off beyond the reach of God; the same hand which put them off will protect and preserve them, for "the gift and calling of God are without repentance." But they are "enemies for our sakes": they bear the relation to us of poor outcasts — outcasts to make room for us; as if the tree could have but a certain number of branches, as if the body could have but a certain number of members, and God had cast off some of the branches, and removed some of the members, that we might become branches in Him who is the true Vine, and members united to Him who is the only head!
III. AFTER THE RESTORATION.
1. Metropolitan pre-eminence (Isaiah 60; Micah 4:1.).
2. Spiritual blessing (Psalm 67.).
(H. M. McNeile, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes.