Summary: If God is sovereign and in control of man's eternal salvation why are the Jews, God's chosen people, for the most part lost, having rejected Jesus as their Messiah? The question is complicated and difficult.
ROMANS 9: 1-5
"THE PROBLEM OF JEWISH UNBELIEF"
After a glorious study on the building blocks of our salvation in chapters 1-8, a new branch of the subject of eternal salvation is obviously introduced in the ninth chapter. If God is sovereign and in control of man's eternal salvation why are the Jews, God's chosen people, for the most part lost, having rejected Jesus as their Messiah? The question is complicated and difficult. [The people of God s promise are the people of God's choice.]
This problem was one of intense person concern to Paul. When Paul thought of his Jewish people and their alienation from God he felt an overwhelming grief. Paul experienced anguish for the Jew because in spite of every opportunity to be saved they rejected the Messiah (CIT).
Paul was a great soul winner. All soul winners have deep compassion for the lost. They have tremendous anguish of heart for the lost which causes them to exchange the life of the flesh for the opportunity to share the way of eternal salvation with mankind. Though Paul was sent to the Gentiles he never lost this longing to see the Jews saved.
I. A SOUL WINNER'S ANGUISH, 9:1-3.
II. A SOUL WINNER'S ANALYSIS, 9:4 & 5.
First, A Soul Winner's Anguish. While Paul was exulting in the thought of God's love and salvation, his joy did not relieve the burden that his own people, whom he loved deeply, were separated from the salvation that was his. A cloud passed over his rejoicing as he contemplated Israel's rejection of the Lord God. The Apostle begins the new section of chapters 9-11 with A SOLEMN OATH in Chapter 9 verse 1. "I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit,"
The contemplation of God's salvation and its wondrous transforming purpose deeply moved Paul. So strongly is Paul stirred by God's self-sacrificing love that he takes a solemn oath substantiating his truthfulness. The only way for anyone to be completely truthful is to speak out of their relationship with Christ, with Whom falsehood is impossible. Paul's redeemed conscience was also concurring that his words were in the control of the Holy Spirit.
Here as in 2:15 Paul uses the conscience as an independent witness within, which examines and passes judgment on conduct. In a Christian this examination and judgment are specially accurate because his conscience is enlightened by the Holy Spirit.
With striking intensity Paul reveals his BURDEN HEART in verse 2. "That I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart."
Notice the tremendous burden for the lost the great soul winner carried in His heart. He was weighted down with sorrow and felt intense pain over their lost condition. Paul was not an indifferent spectator concerning the lostness of man particular his countrymen. The consideration of their hard-hearted unbelief filled his heart with anguish.
Paul could identify with this rebellious people. He knew where they were for he too at one time had been stiff-necked and obstinate to Christ and His Church. How Paul longed that they too would fall down before the light of Christ and have the scales of their eyes removed.
Paul hated sin, but he loved the sinner. No man will ever be a soul winner until he comes to truly love people. The more intense his love for people the more committed he will be in his efforts to lead-them to Christ. Jesus said, "This is My commandment, that you love one another just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends" (Jn. 15:12-13).
In verse 3 we encounter A SELF-SACRIFICING WISH. "For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh,"
The word accursed is anathema, meaning pitilessly condemn to utter destruction. [It means "dedicated to destruction" or delivered up to the judgment of God.] How deep was Paul's compassion for his countrymen? He stood ready to exchange his own eternal salvation and reward in Christ if only it would bring salvation to the lost. Indeed if their salvation could be purchased by his own eternal damnation, readily would he consent, if such a exchange were possible.
This is compassion in its ultimate form. Love knows no greater expression than self-sacrifice for another (Jn. 15:13). Being the Apostle to the Gentiles did not mean he had any less concern for the salvation of his "kinsmen according to the flesh" which is distinguished from his kinsmen according to the Spirit.
[In Exodus 32:32 Moses said, "Oh, Lord, even though Your people have turned from You, and have fallen into idolatry and immorality, if You don't forgive them, if You don't continue working with them, blot my name out of Your book of life as well."