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From the apostle Paul’s letter to the believers in Rome,
- “I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from who is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.” (Romans 9:1-5)
What a most remarkable compassion! Having just written in his letter to Rome about the forgiveness of sin for the believer in Christ, the security of the believer in Christ, the victory of the believer in Christ, the apostle Paul, having a full understanding of what it means to be saved from the wrath to come, expresses a “great sorrow and unceasing grief in (his) heart” for his “kinsmen according to the flesh,” his “brethren . . . who are Israelites.”
Paul speaks of all the riches that have been theirs, “the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises.” That they are the nation of “the fathers . . . from who is the Christ,” the long-awaited Messiah “according to the flesh,” the One who has come out of them to fulfill God’s promise of salvation from the penalty due their sin.
And Paul had this “unceasing grief in (his) heart” because the vast part of they “who are Israelites” had rejected Jesus as the Christ. They had rejected Him, actually being the ones who cried out for His crucifixion.
To these, people of the like that we tend to think of condemningly, Paul says, with great emphasis, that he is “telling the truth in Christ . . . not lying” and that his sorrow and grief is such that he could wish himself “accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of [his] brethren.” A most remarkable compassion!
To get the full impact of this compassion, you just have to read Romans one through eight. Within these chapters are conveyed the glorious riches of God in Christ, the gospel message of Jesus the Christ. Within these chapters are words of the greatest importance that one must believe and embrace if one is ever to avoid the penalty due their sin. Paul, who loved the Lord, understood all of this! And that is why this is a most remarkable compassion.
When one grasps the message about which Paul wrote and its eternal implications, and then reads that he would wish himself accursed, that he would wish himself “separated from Christ for the sake of [his] brethren” it should cause one to pause. It should cause one to examine one’s own compassion for the lost, one’s own compassion for those who are “separated from Christ.”
A most remarkable compassion . . . . . . . . a compassion that we all fall short of. Forgive us Father.
Have a good day . . . and in your goings and your comings, stop to reflect on your compassion for the lost. Where do you stand in comparison to Paul’s remarkable compassion?
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