Romans 9:3 – “For [if it were possible] I would wish that I myself were accursed, [separated, banished] from Christ for the sake [of the salvation] of my brothers, my natural kinsmen” AMP
We have made it to chapter nine. Are you enjoying the study thus far? I believe that many of you are enjoying it, and I thank you for your many visits, likes, and comments.
Paul has been rejoicing in the Lord and all that has been provided for every believer in the person of Jesus Christ. In this portion of the chapter he grieves over the state of his people, for as a nation, they have rejected Christ! I know how Paul feels as he grieves over his Jewish kinsmen. As a Black person, I have often found myself grieving over the state of Black Americans. The violence, the illiteracy, the broken families, can be a bit much at times. At one time, I had to stop and ask God if He was doing anything in the lives of Black people? Lord, have you included us in your plans at all? Sometimes, everything can be going right in your own world, but your heart can grieve for those around you, those you love. Such was the case with Paul.
I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me [enlightened and prompted] by the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.Romans 9:1-2 AMP
In the above verses we can hear Paul’s desire to make it absolutely plain that he is not against the Jewish nation. In many of the chapters in Romans, he has compared the faith of the Jewish people in the Law, with the faith of the Gentiles, and they have come up lacking in many ways. But Paul is Jewish, and a believer, and he still hurts over where the nation of Israel is spiritually. Paul said that he was unequivocally hurting in his heart over Israel’s rejection of the Messiah. It’s a burden that has caused much anguish in his heart.
Now in Iconium Paul and Barnabas went into the Jewish synagogue together and spoke in such a way [with such power and boldness] that a large number of Jews as well as Greeks believed [and confidently accepted Jesus as Savior]Acts 14:1 AMP
This scripture is one of many that tell of Paul’s heart for his people. In every city that Paul went, he looked for the Jews first. He went to the synagogue to share the love of Jesus, and when they accepted it, he was encouraged. And when they rejected it, it broke his heart. Paul’s heart was so tender in this area that he said,
For [if it were possible] I would wish that I myself were accursed, [separated, banished] from Christ for the sake [of the salvation] of my brothers, my natural kinsmenRomans 9:3 AMP
Listen to Paul’s heartache: if it were possible for him to leave Jesus in order for them to know Jesus, he would do it! How many times has a parent said to God, “If I could take this sickness, this pain, this heartache, for my child, I would?” Or how many times has a spouse or child said a similar thing? More than we will ever know, because there is something that is heart-wrenching about watching someone you love hurt beyond measure. And it is even harder to watch them live their lives with no regards for the Savior!
God told Moses that He would destroy the Israelites and make a nation of him, but Moses couldn’t agree with that plan for he loved his brethren and couldn’t bare the thought of their demise. David found himself in trouble with God, and God told him to choose his punishment. David decided that whatever happened, it needed to be from the hand of God and not man, because God is so merciful. But when David saw what was happening, he cried out to God:
Then David spoke to the Lord when he saw the angel who was striking the people, and said, “Surely I have sinned, and I have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done? Let Your hand, I pray, be against me and against my father’s house.”2 Samuel 24:17 NKJV
He couldn’t stand it! He just could not handle watching the people undergo such pain because of his actions! He told God that he and his family would bear it, just leave the people alone!
Paul rehearses all of the reasons he feels this way about his kinsmen:
Who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, the glory (Shekinah), the [special] covenants [with Abraham, Moses, and David], the giving of the Law, the [system of temple] worship, and the [original] promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to His natural descent, came the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed), He who is exalted and supreme over all, God blessed forever. Amen.Romans 9:4-5 AMP
Paul lists them all:
- They are Israelites
- The adoption as sons belongs to them
- They experienced the Shekinah glory of God
- They had covenants made between them and God
- The promises of God were given them
- The service and worship of God was given to them
- The Law was given to them
- The patriarchs belong to them
- Christ the Savior, the Messiah, came through them.
So in knowing all of this, Paul just felt like they had to get it right with God because so much had been invested in them. But the bottom line was still that Paul could not give up his salvation in exchange for them getting saved. Any more than we can take someone’s illness for them, or their pain so that they could be healed. And we don’t have to, because Someone else did it already!
For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin,1 Peter 2:21-24 NKJV
Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.
Paul couldn’t give up his salvation to acquire salvation for his kinsmen, because Jesus had already given up everything that could be given up for their salvation. Himself! And Paul could no more choose it for them, then I can choose it for my family members, or my “people”. This salvation is personal, because it is personal to God!
No other individual can take on someone else’s sickness or pain. He Himself took it already. Everything that we could ever need has been provided through Jesus. We cannot make this decision for others, they have to make it! But we can pray for them, intercede for them, that they will see the truth of it!
My heart still grieves over the state of Black people around the world. The need is so great, and so varied, that it can seem overwhelming. But I know and understand that as we continue to pray and believe God, things will change for us. For God loves all people, and He wants to manifest His glory in every nation, every tongue, and every people. We can’t make an exchange, because the greatest exchange has already happened! But we can pray and open our hearts to whatever He will ask of us, to bring about solutions in our world! Wonderful Jesus!