For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.
This has always been a difficult passage for me to comprehend. Paul had such a love for his fellow countrymen that he actually makes the statement, “I could wish myself accursed from Christ for my brethren.” In other words, Paul is saying that he would give up his own salvation in order for his Jewish brethren to be saved.
How could anyone say that? I love my family, each and every one of them, and I would do most anything for them. But give up my salvation? It is hard for me to even imagine giving up the hope of heaven for anyone. I am just being honest. I would love to say that I would be willing, but just can’t begin to grasp such a thing. Give up eternity in heaven with my Lord for eternity in hell separated from the One who is most dear to me?
Listen to the burden on Paul’s heart. The promises of God, “the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises” had been given to them. They were God’s chosen people and yet they rejected His truths. Oh how it hurt his soul!
I think of those whom I am closest to who either don’t know the Lord, or embrace Him in a very casual and indifferent manner. My heart is burdened every time I hear them say something that trivializes what the Lord had done for them, or watch them do something that suggests that they don’t even care.
It is good for me to be burdened in that way. It is good that this gives me such a heavy heart because then I am more apt to cry out to God on their behalf. And in the process I am more willing to have the attitude of Paul, to do anything to see them love Jesus.