Sunday, June 3, 2012
“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:” (Romans 9:1-3 KJV).
Sharing Jesus Christ with lost (unsaved) strangers is difficult. We need to tell them of their impending eternal doom and of the salvation in Christ, but we sometimes keep quiet, fearing ridicule and rejection. However, telling our own family about Christ is tougher….
In today’s Scripture, our Apostle Paul begins three chapters—Romans chapters 9-11—that discuss Israel’s past, present, and future statuses. Israel once had a special position before God (Romans 9:4,5). When Paul wrote today’s Scripture, God had already begun to set Israel and her program aside: Israel’s “diminishing” occurred between Acts chapters 7 and 28. Today, in this the Dispensation of Grace, Israel is temporarily spiritually “blinded” and “fallen” (Romans 11:11,12,25).
Compare today’s Scripture with Romans 10:1-3: “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”
Oh, how Jewish Paul grieved for lost (hell-bound) Israel, who ignored Christ’s finished crosswork (“the righteousness of God;” Romans 10:3 cf. 2 Corinthians 5:21)! They disregarded Paul’s Gospel of Grace (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). They rejected Christ’s bloodshed, death, burial, and resurrection, and emphasized “their own righteousness” (doing religious works, hoping to obtain salvation, but actually heading for eternal damnation). How we grieve for our family members who are equally religious (and equally lost)!!!
Paul preached Jesus Christ “that he might save some of them [Jews, his kinsmen according to the flesh]” (Romans 11:14). Be not discouraged! We will not save all of our family members. Nevertheless, we BOLDLY preach, for “some” “of [our] kinsmen according to the flesh” will trust Christ alone and be saved.