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Reflections on Romans 9:1-2 (Mon)

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I found it odd that Paul begins this passage saying, “I am not lying”. I admit that the thought crossed my mind, “was Paul known to stretch the truth, so he had to offer such a disclaimer?”

So I appreciated Bob’s explanation of why Paul begins this passage such a defensive way. It makes sense that Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles would have caused some to question his love for the Jews. Paul makes a similar statement that he’s not lying in other places too (2 Cor, Galatians, 1 Tim). It also occurred to me that his letters went out to many people who didn’t necessarily know him personally–people who may have only heard about Paul through heresay–that would be a good reason for him to clarify his truthfulness.

The troubling part of this passage for me, though, as i implied yesterday, is the part where he claims “great sorrow and unceasing anguish” for his lost countrymen. To my chagrin, Bob emphasized the word “unceasing”. (I was hoping Paul didn’t really mean that because it’s getting a bit convicting!) I looked it up this morning–it’s the Greek word adialeiptos (ad-ee-al’-ipe-tos). Sure enough, it means exactly that–unceasing, continual.

I’m left with some questions and I’m hoping that perhaps some of you readers can help shed some light for me.

Have any of us ever experienced unceasing anguish over anything?
Have I ever even experienced any amount of anguish over lost people?
How can we obtain this anguish? (that’s a strange sounding question, isn’t it!)
How is it possible to have joy (rejoice in the Lord always) and unceasing anguish at the same time?

In case you’re wondering what these daily “Reflections” are all about, check out my blog explanation here: Join Me For Breakfast

If you have any insights, stories, or thoughts about today’s passage, please comment below! Thanks!

8 Comments

  1. This is where comments can go. I’m just making sure it works.

  2. Last year’s daily devo’s on Romans helped keep me focused & thinking,
    so thanks for doing this blog, Mark. My anguish, my burden is for my
    co-workers. I’ve not looked at it as something to obtain but something
    God has placed on my heart. It grows in the cultivation of prayer and
    humility. The anguish is blunted when I worry about my needs and what
    I want. Anguish is praying for a wayward child, too. Through much
    weeping I’ve learned joy only as I learn more of the Sovereignty of God.
    Growing in my faith that He is forever in control and all of His promises
    will be accomplished. This discussion could go on for a long time…thanks for letting me give a comment.
    Diane

  3. Pastor Mark,
    thanks for doing this! I need structure or it won’t happen,so this will be a big help. I don’t think I anguish over people,but I do pray for them to know Jesus personally. Paul was definitely ahead of me on that point and a million others!

  4. Thanks, Martha. We’ll always be catching up to Paul i think!

  5. Have any of us ever experienced unceasing anguish over anything? Many times I have felt anguish with my children and there walk with God.
    Have I ever even experienced any amount of anguish over lost people? I find it amazing how the lost get through the day. As does Diane I also sorrow over my co-workers.
    How can we obtain this anguish? (that’s a strange sounding question, isn’t it!) I have asked God to give me the anguish Paul talked about.
    How is it possible to have joy (rejoice in the Lord always) and unceasing anguish at the same time? Pastor John Piper calls it a Joyful Sorrow.

    • Joe, thanks for the Piper phrasing. I love John Piper’s ministry! I heard him on a podcast this past week saying that he pretty much writes about such joy amidst suffering in all his books these days. Amazing how such seeming opposites go together. Thanks for contributing to the discussions.

  6. Pastor Piper spent 8 years going through Romans. Its an awesome series.
    I have heard that if you get a decent understanding of Romans the rest of the Bible is easier to understand. I know I have spent a lot of time in this wonderful letter.. Thanks for asking great questions. Joe

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