He declares that they have the privilege of being the depositories of divine revelation (Rm 3:1-2). Nevertheless, this privilege has not exempted them from sin’s dominion over them (3:9-19), hence it is still necessary to gain justification by faith in Christ rather than by the observance of the Law (3:20-22).
When he considers the situation of Jews who have not followed Christ, Paul insists on affirming his profound esteem for them by enumerating the marvellous gifts which they have received from God: “They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the Law, the worship and the promises; to them belong the Patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen” (Rm 9:4-5). 340 Despite the absence of verbs, it can scarcely be doubted that Paul wishes to speak of these gifts as still actually possessed (cf. ), even if, from his viewpoint, possession of them is not sufficient, for they refuse God’s most important gift, his Son, although physically he is one with them. Paul attests that “they are zealous for God”, adding: “but it is not enlightened. For being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they have not submitted to God’s righteousness” (10:2-3). Nevertheless, God does not abandon them. His plan is to show them mercy. “The hardening” which affects “a part of” Israel is only provisional and has its usefulness for the time being (); it will be followed by salvation (). Paul sums up the situation in an antithetical phrase, followed by a positive affirmation: