1I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit— 2I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, 4the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
6It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." 8In other words, it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. 9For this was how the promise was stated: "At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son."
10Not only that, but Rebekah’s children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. 11Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12not by works but by him who calls—she was told, "The older will serve the younger.
We ended last week with Paul reassuring us that there is nothing that can come between us and God and us and Christ. Paul told us that we are conquerors even more than conquerors through Christ Jesus.
Now Paul steps back for a moment and he thinks about his Jewish brothers and that they will never have the promise of salvation that he has gained through Christ. He wishes that he could in some way save them by giving himself up for them. To be cut off from Christ if that could in any way save them. Paul was grieved tremendously by this realization.
But the truth is the Jews for the most part wanted nothing to do with Paul. They thought of him as a traitor trying to bring lies and deception upon them, lies about who Christ was. What the Jews wanted was Paul’s life for the lies they thought he was spreading. They would come together wherever Paul was and do everything they could to take his life from him.
One of these stories is told in Acts
Acts 23:12-13 The next morning the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. 13More than forty men were involved in this plot.
Paul tells about these hardships in 2 Corinthians
2 Corinthians 11:24-26 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers.
The remarkable thing we see here is not that the Jews hated Paul and wanted him dead, these feelings are unfortunately common among people, but that through all of this, Paul still loved the Jews and would do anything to help them come to faith. Even after all the things they did to him. Nowhere in the Bible does Paul speak in bitterness about the Jews not anywhere. He speaks only in love.
Paul’s spirit was the spirit of his Master Jesus, who said in Matthew 5:44 "But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."
This loving spirit that was in Christ and also in Paul is one that every one of us should strive for. We are called to love as Christ loved and through that draw those to Christ who can be saved.
This is one of the toughest things to do isn’t it? To love those who hate you and maybe even want to kill you.
It is easy to love our spouse, our children, our parents, and even some strangers, but our enemies that is tough. We should always pray that God would touch those who are our enemies and make them anew just as He did us.
Then in verse four and five Paul says something that is only said this once, he calls Israel the adopted sons.
Romans 9:4-5 The people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.