By Doug Bell
1 ¶ I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit,
2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart.
3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh,
4 who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises;
5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen
I love my family very much! And I believe I would lay my life down to save any of them. But, Paul is saying he would die for his Countrymen. Would I give my life to save another American, my countrymen? I don’t know, it would depend entirely upon the circumstances I guess. This is what our soldiers do for us! We lost 13 of our valiant warriors in Afghanistan August 31st. I believe this may be what Paul was speaking of in Romans 5:
7 “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.”
But, Paul is speaking of ‘more’ than just dying to protect someone.
”For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh,”
If I understand what Paul is saying here (And I believe I do), he is saying that he is willing to spend an eternity in Hell, if it would mean the salvation of his countrymen. The nation of Israel had rejected Jesus as their messiah and they (Israel) were headed to Hell! Paul, testifying that he is telling the truth. And he even calls upon the Holy Spirit as his witness of his sincerity in this.
Now, this bothers me. Mainly because (and I say this to my shame,) I know I don’t have this same love and concern for my neighbors and others. Those who are dying without Christ and are going to Hell. I do care and am bothered BUT, why am I not Grieving over them as Paul was? Why do I not linger in prayer for their salvation? Or as Spurgeon has said, “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.”
And Paul wasn’t the only person to feel this way. In our Wednesday night study we came across these words; “Yet now, if You will forgive their sin—but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written.” (Exodus 32:32- Moses praying for Israel to God).
Have we somehow confused the Great “Commandment” for (Matt. 28:18-20) the Great “Commission?” Do we think that by Loving God and our fellow countrymen, we in some way are relieved of actually ‘sharing’ the Gospel? Or have we now convinced ourselves that because God is sovereign He doesn’t use ‘means’ to bring about His will? The truth is; God doesn’t NEED us, But it IS His will to use us. It is part of the process of sanctification. That is, God’s conforming us to the image of His dear Son, Jesus Christ!
But what really bothers me is that I fear that the real reason we are not broken over the lost is: we are more concerned about our comfort in this life, or too lazy, or something even worse. We lack “Faith” in God! That He can’t use us. Or we won’t have the words. Or whoever it is we are witnessing to may get mad and will stop speaking to us. Whatever our excuse is, it is simply an excuse!
10 ¶ “Then Moses said to the LORD, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”
11 ¶ So the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD?
12 “Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”
Oh, May God give us a heart that cares as He cares, a mind to think as He thinks, and a a mouth to speak to the Lost, that they may be saved as He desires!
“…Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:24.