Heart’s Desire

Saturday, October 1, 2016

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 (Romans 9:1,2 KJV).

Why did Paul have “great heaviness and continual sorrow in [his] heart?”

Mom and I recently visited a family friend, a new Christian only a year old in the Lord. After our three-hour Bible study answering her questions, she spoke to us as we were leaving. Having just learned many precious truths from God’s Word, this dear lady began to literally weep. She now fathomed the immense deception of her former denomination. How she was so burdened that her son, her daughter, and her grandchildren were still trapped in that cult. She had raised them in that religious group, and while she had escaped, they had chosen to remain in it. We comforted and encouraged her.

In today’s Scripture, the Apostle Paul was deeply disturbed, constantly sorrowful. Verse 3 explains, “For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” Paul was so saddened to see his Jewish brethren stuck in their apostasy—Satanic deception and anti-Jesus-Christ attitude. They hated Jesus so much they often attempted to take Paul’s life for preaching His name! Chapter 10 opens: “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” And, verse 3: “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.”

Friend, do you know what made it especially hurtful for Paul to see Israel utterly fallen and thoroughly deceived? As Saul of Tarsus, he had encouraged Israel to reject Jesus and kill His followers (Acts 8:1-4; Acts 26:9-11)! Being lost, Paul had led Israel’s rebellion against Jesus Christ! Now, having been saved from hell’s flames, he felt deep remorse for what he had done. Until his dying day, Paul surely prayed for his unbelieving brethren. They were to give up their works-religion and embrace Jesus Christ, as he had! Beloved, let us not cease to pray for our unsaved loved ones—and be ready to speak God’s truth when they want it!

Bible Q&A #310: “Can you explain 1 Corinthians 8?