“….of whom is the adoption….” (Romans 9:4).
This is the second great privilege of the Jews as enumerated by Paul in his letter to the Romans, in which he explains why he could count himself accursed for their sakes. The adoption, or literally, the “sonship”, pertains to Israel, Paul writes. And so it does.
At the very outset of national Israel’s existence, God declared to Pharaoh;
“Israel is My son, My first-born, and I say unto you, let My son go, that he may serve Me” (Exodus 4:22-23).
So Israel is Jehovah’s first-born amongst all the nations; it was true then and it is true now; and all His subsequent dealings with them, were intended to teach them what was implied in that relationship. Although Israel may call Jehovah, Abba, Father, yet they have not taken on their part in the transaction so as to exhibit the character of children of the living God. On the contrary, their infantile stubbornness is such as to cause the Lord to cry out;
“A son honours his father, and a servant his master: if then I am a Father, where is My honour? And if I am a Master, where is My fear? says the Lord Almighty” (Malachi 1:6).
The two great and blessed relationships that God offered His people were that of a father to his son, and that of a husband to his wife; in both of these relationships Israel has, to date, proved unfaithful. As a Father, God has frequently to complain of His disobedient children, describing them as “lawless sons” (Isaiah 1:4); and as a Husband He has had to pour out His grief at their adulterous behaviour; “You have played the harlot with many lovers” (Jeremiah3:1).
But God alone remains faithful to His covenant; “He will ever be mindful of His covenant” (Psalm 111:5) and repeatedly calls unfaithful Israel to repent and turn back to Him; “yet return again to me, says Jehovah” (Jeremiah 3:1).
But they would not and, to date, they have not; but one day, they will, and the repentant bride will be restored to the Bridegroom and the prodigal son restored to the Father. This much is certain, and Israel has been gathered back to the land so that these things may take place. In the meantime, there is a remnant according to grace from Israel, and a people taken out for His name from amongst the gentiles, who are able to enter in to the enjoyment of these gifts and privileges to which Israel was called, and upon which she has turned her back for the present.
To us, if we truly are Christ’s, belong the adoption – sonship – “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but you received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father; the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit, that we are children of God” (Romans 8:14-16).