We’re considering God’s righteousness and seeing how it works with mercy specifically in the case of the Jews. Thus far Paul impressed on us his sorrow that the Jews are not presently believers of the revealed Christ. Paul has been showing us how important a people they truly are and has taken us through history showing how and why God’s Word of Promise was established. We saw how they were kept from Edom’s fate only by God’s mercy.
These next few verses wind up being breeding ground for lots of contention. Some have inappropriately used these verses to show that Jacob was “saved” and Esau “damned to hell”. It seems to me that this ignores Paul’s argument at this stage of his defense of the righteousness of God: that being, God’s Word stands and now, why it stands.
Paul has us look at Rebekah and Isaac’s situation (Gen 25:21-26). Here she is finally pregnant, and God be praised, with fraternal twins! The question about God’s Promise comes up: do they split Abraham’s inheritance? What if one of them is wicked or one of them careless…how will God’s Word stand if these men are faulty?
The question “what about the Jew” is frighteningly important in it’s historic context. Paul immediately impresses upon the reader how important his kinsmen according to the flesh are since it directly impacts God’s good word.
Paul’s not referring to only blood relatives although he makes the blood relation with his countrymen that important. These are the Israelites who were formed as a nation by the very word of God. This group finds its origins in Abram, who was called out from the Gentiles, crossed over the river into Canaan and traveled up and down throughout the land. God gave irrefutable promises to Abraham and eventually to his sons…setting them apart children of promise.