Arminian Today

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Romans 9:1

In my ongoing series on Romans 9, we come to verse 1.  Romans 9:1 reads,

I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit.

The Greek text begins with truth so that Paul is saying, “Truth I am speaking in Christ.”  Paul is about to wrestle with how faithful God is toward His people, that He has not abandoned His people but instead He is fulfilling His faithful promises to those who trust in Him by faith.  Up to this point, Paul has been clear that the promise of God to save those who call upon His name has been manifested in the giving of His only Son (Romans 1:3).  The gospel is the power of God unto salvation to both Jews and Greeks (Romans 1:16-17).  Paul begins here in Romans 9 by asserting that he is telling the truth.

Paul appeals to three witnesses for this truth: his conscience (Romans 2:15), Christ, and the Holy Spirit.  Some commentators feel that Paul’s appeal to Christ is an appeal to Paul’s apostleship (1 Timothy 2:7).  I feel that Paul is appealing to Christ because as a disciple of Jesus, we are all bound to tell the truth.  We cannot lie because God does not lie (Titus 1:2).  Numbers 23:19 says,

God is not man, that he should lie,
or a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Has he said, and will he not do it?
Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

Just as God is truthful in all that He says (and thus why His Word is inerrant and infallible as well; John 17:17), so the disciple of Jesus must be truthful in all that we say or do.  We must not lie.  We must be truthful if we are of the truth.  Christ bounds us to the truth as He is truth (John 14:6).

F.F. Bruce notes that Paul’s appeal to the Holy Spirit is another beautiful reference to the work of the Spirit in the life of the believer that is so highlighted in the book of Romans.  The Holy Spirit takes a prominent role in Paul’s theology in Romans (and elsewhere).  Dr. Jack Cottrell sees Paul’s appeal to the Spirit as proof of his inspiration of writing Scripture (1 Corinthians 7:40).  Paul understood in some way that he was writing by the Spirit of God (2 Peter 1:21).  I see this as not just an appeal to the fact that the Spirit was speaking through Paul but also to the work of the Spirit already at work in the life of the saints (Romans 8:16).  The saints reading Paul would identify to this work of the Spirit, to the fact that the Holy Spirit bears witness with us about the truth of God (1 Corinthians 2:13).


Written by The Seeking Disciple

11/22/2013 at 12:10 PM

Posted in Romans 9

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  1. If I read this verse in light of Paul’s location of the writing on his 3rd missionary journey — then the place of the Holy Spirit makes sense.

    Paul was Spirit-led at every turn from Antioch to Rome — his entire saga for the Gospel.

    Though his and Luke’s pneumatology have a different focal point…the same Spirit that lead also inspired. I can almost picture Paul writing this sentence there outside of Corinth under the influence of the Spirit. What a moment.

    Mike Bayer

    11/22/2013 at 12:51 PM

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