TOPIC: BURDEN FOR THE LOST
TEXT: Romans 9:1 – 29(NKJV)
1. I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit,
2. that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart.
3. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh,
4. who are Israelites, to whom [pertain] the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service [of God,] and the promises;
5. of whom [are] the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ [came,] who is over all, [the] eternally blessed God. Amen.
6. But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they [are] not all Israel who [are] of Israel,
7. nor [are they] all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.”
8. That is, those who [are] the children of the flesh, these [are] not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.
9. For this [is] the word of promise: “At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.”
10. And not only [this,] but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, [even] by our father Isaac
11. (for [the children] not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls),
12. it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.”
13. As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”
14. What shall we say then? [Is there] unrighteousness with God? Certainly not!
15. For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.”
16. So then [it is] not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.
17. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.”
18. Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.
19. You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?”
20. But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed [it,] “Why have you made me like this?”
21. Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
22. [What] if God, wanting to show [His] wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,
23. and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,
24. [even] us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
25. As He says also in Hosea: “I will call them My people, who were not My people, And her beloved, who was not beloved.”
26. “And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, [‘You are] not My people,’ There they shall be called sons of the living God.”
27. Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, The remnant will be saved.
28. For He will finish the work and cut [it] short in righteousness, Because the LORD will make a short work upon the earth.”
29. And as Isaiah said before: “Unless the LORD of Sabaoth had left us a seed, We would have become like Sodom, And we would have been made like Gomorrah.”
In our text today, St. Paul expressed so much pain for the sake of his brethren – the Jews – who found it difficult to embrace the salvation in Christ as a result of their claim to be the seed of Abraham. Having been sent by the Lord as an Apostle to the Gentiles (the engrafted branch), he experienced their turning to the Lord by faith and received the grace of salvation therein, while the children of Abraham upon whom the promise was given, remained outside the faith.
He therefore reiterated that God shows mercy to whoever He wills without allowing scrutiny by mortal men. This mercy does not necessarily come by works, but as it pleases God. St. Paul’s burden to see his brethren being carved back into God’s fold as it were, is a great lesson to every Christian. He wished he could be “accursed from Christ” if that is the only condition that could help his brethren.
As a Christian, what feelings do you have for your brethren and kinsmen who are yet to embrace Christ as their Lord and personal Saviour? Is there anything you can do to help them see the light in Christ? Now is the time.
PRAYER: Father, create in me the burden to bring my kinsmen to the knowledge of Christ.