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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 9 - Verse 8

Verse 8. They which are the children of the flesh. The natural descendants.

These are not the children of God. Are not of necessity the adopted children of God; or are not so in virtue of their descent merely. This was in opposition to one of the most settled and deeply-cherished opinions of the Jews. They supposed that the mere fact of being a Jew entitled a man to the blessings of the covenant, and to be regarded as a child of God. But the apostle shows them that it was not by their natural descent that these spiritual privileges were granted; that they were not conferred on men simply from the fact that they were Jews; and that consequently those who were not Jews might become interested in those spiritual blessings.

But the children of the promise. The descendants of Abraham on whom the promised blessings would be bestowed. The sense is, that God at first contemplated a distinction among the descendants of Abraham, and intended to confine his blessings to such as he chose; that is, to those to whom the promise particularly appertained, to the descendants of Isaac. The argument of the apostle is, that the principle was thus established that a distinction might be made among those who were Jews; and as that distinction had been made in former times, so it might be under the Messiah.

Are counted. Are regarded, or reckoned. God reckons things as they are; and therefore designed that they should be his true children.

As the seed. The spiritual children of God; the partakers of his mercy and salvation. This refers, doubtless, to spiritual privileges and to salvation; and therefore has relation not to nations as such, but to individuals.

{k} "children of the promise" Ga 4:28

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