Rom 9:1-5 “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.”
In the eighth chapter, Paul concluded with his wonderful assessment that nothing can separate us from the love of God. We should realize that he has not now become concerned with the eternal welfare of his brethren. However, he is very concerned with their failing to lay hold on the kingdom of God in that moment. It was troubling to Paul that his brethren according to birth or nationality should deny the deity of Jesus Christ.
Paul was not expressing some outwardly gratuitous sentiment for his audience. This was serious to Paul; so much so, that he testified this was a truth in Christ. He further called the Holy Ghost as witness for the sadness and grief he felt for his kinsmen according to nature. Having followed the ways of the Pharisees for many years, Paul declared that he would willing suffer being banished from the Lord’s presence here if it meant that they could know and feel what he did.
These were people who should not have been strangers to the will and promises of God. They were made to be the people of God, had walked in His will (in spite of their rebellious nature), had received God’s law, and were even kinsmen of Christ according to the flesh. Paul had made it obvious that nothing could separate them (and us) from the love of God. Yet, they were certainly alienated from the kingdom of God here that Christ had established with His death and resurrection.
This should cause us to consider our feelings toward our “kinsmen” who may have once known the ways of the Lord then turned aside. How many people do we know who were raised in the church, perhaps became members, and then just disappeared from our lives? I am sure we may wonder about them from time to time. We may even inquire of others if they have heard from these people.
Paul shows a depth of love for his “kinsmen” that I fear we often fail to realize. Our kinsmen who have turned aside from the Lord should hold a more important place in our hearts. While it should not negate the joy of the Lord, we should still feel a sadness that they are not rejoicing in the truth of Jesus Christ. It should be a deep and sincere concern in our hearts.
I do not want to imagine what my life would be like if I were accursed (banned) from Christ. At the same time, I pray to have such love for those who have been shown the promises and glory of God that I would be willing to bear that if it would cause them to know the joy that I have in Christ. This is our Christ, who is over all. This is our Christ, who is God blessed forever. Amen!
May our love for God’s people never fail, regardless of their actions toward us or their attitude toward the faith we have in Christ!