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Reflections on Romans 9:3-5 (Tue)

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

click here for the Net Bible link to today’s passage

Thanks for your insightful comments yesterday. It helped me grow in my understanding of the passage.

I hope you spend time meditating on the passage first, before reading my thoughts. In verse 3, Paul says something truly amazing. If it were possible, he would gladly give up his salvation if his fellow Jews could somehow be saved. A cross reference in my Bible reminded me that Moses said something similar about the Jews in Ex 24:24, where he says, “[if you will not spare them] please blot me out of the book you have written.” Paul’s bargain is more noble: “I’d rather you send me to hell, and redeem them.”

Now this attitude is truly amazing. It takes Jesus’ commandment to love your enemies pretty much to the ultimate extreme doesn’t it? And what makes it even more amazing is that these Jews Paul is wanting to be cursed for for aren’t your typical “nice neighbors”. Many of them were trying to kill him, stoning him, flogging him, forming coups against him, chasing him down, etc.

I compare that to my own situation. I have some neighbors that irk me. Oftentimes, my wish has been that they would move away and take their junky cars with them! That’s a far cry from me being willing to go to hell in exchange for their reconciliation with God.

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

How can I improve my attitude about the lost around me, because honestly I usually don’t care much about their well being. Pastor Bob suggested serving them. Yesterday, Diane commented that it’s something God places on your heart through prayer and humility. Any other ideas?

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

6 Comments

  1. i had another thought during my prayer time this morning. The magnitude of love that Paul expresses having for his countrymen is exactly the same that Jesus showed when he literally chose the penalty of hell on behalf of those who were killing him. Wow! Paul gets it, do I?

  2. Paul had amazing desire to see people come to faith in Christ.I think that he must have prayed a lot for them to know Jesus or how would he have loved them so much? It sure is not natural!
    I was blown away by the blessings and advantages the lost Jews had available to them and how they (even many today)missed faith in Christ . Maybe they developed a ho-hum attitude or the enemy of our souls used even those blessings to blind them-focus on the blessings and not the One who gave them!

  3. Hi, Mark,
    Your comment about improving your attitude towards the lost because
    you usually don’t care much about their well-being has puzzled me off and on all day. From observing your senior high ministry you seem to care
    a great deal about people–youth, HD Center, Mexico, etc. So I’m not
    sure what you’re asking, Mark. For myself if I’m not careful to understand where God has placed me and with who and why then the sea of lost becomes an overwhelming flood and then it does become hard to care.
    Burnout in caring is not uncommon. Perhaps I’m missing what you were asking, Mark. Diane

  4. Martha, great insight about the Jews. So close, and yet so far away ❗

    Diane, I liked your imagery of how the sea of lost can become an overwhelming flood sometimes–that was good to think on. Having too many people to care for makes one feel like giving up totally because it’s not doable. Where do you even start? That’s why we started Quads by the way, to give the sponsors and students a more manageable sized group to love.

    What i was reflecting on, though, was how Paul’s amazing amount of love for his enemies. I have trouble generating love for those who merely annoy me. As you’ve correctly observed I have love for lots of people (youth group, some homeless people, Mexicans, etc) including a lot of lost people. I should have been more careful in my wording–I made it sound like I don’t love any lost people. Not the case at all, thanks for calling me on that!

    But I think perhaps the issue isn’t my capacity to love, but rather the extent of it. Do i love my enemies? Not/Applicable. Do I even love the people that simply annoy me? Some, sometimes. Enough to be willing to trade my salvation for theirs? Not even close! That’s my only point.

    The further along i get on this Christian journey, the further i realize I have to go! Like I told some guys on Sunday–after 22 years of marriage I’m just beginning to learn what love is!

    Good discussion!

  5. Martha I too was amazed at what the Jews were given. They were to be the conduit of Gods gory to all the nations, yet they kept it to themselves. Even some of the prophets hated going to the heathen pagans and proclaiming the Gospel(Jonah). And there it is. It hits me right between the eyes. I do the exact samething. I keep it to myself. I have always said my life is a witness to the lost. That’s such a lame excuse. I pray that God will give me the boldness to proclaim His name. He has given us the same resourses. I need to proclaim His name with my mouth. I stand reproved!!

    • Wow, Joe, what a challenge! Thanks for personalizing the discussion in such a real way. Boldness. Yes, you’ve put your finger on something there that I hadn’t been thinking of.

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