Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Romans 9:1-18

Paul expresses what I think we all feel from time to time for a person or people we truly love. Paul wishes he could trade places with, and take the punishment for, his fellow Jewish "brothers" if that could or would save them.

"I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel." (Romans 9: 2-4)

Of course the only one who can save any of us is Jesus Christ. However, in these verses, Paul shows a rare depth of love. Like Jesus, Paul is willing to sacrifice his life for others.

When we see others that have not found a meaningful relationship with Christ, often it is easier to wish we could take their punishment than to try and bring them into a closer relationship with Christ. However, the latter is what Jesus calls us to do and the former is often not sincere (and not possible).

Given that none of us can take the judgment and punishment for another so the other can be saved, and given that Christ calls us to share the Word and bring more and more into a meaningful relationship with Him, what are we to do? We cannot sacrifice ourselves to save another, but we do have things we can sacrifice to save another. These other things are our time, money, energy, and comfort. If any of us asked for God's help through prayer, and then made a true sacrifice, I am confident it would be extremely effective.

Just imagine the joy it would bring any of us if we made such a change in someone else's life.

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