READING: Psalms 72-73, Romans 9:1-15
“For I could almost wish to be cursed and cut off from the Messiah for the benefit of my brothers, my own flesh and blood.”
I realize today that I don’t love non-believers enough. When I first became a believer many years ago, nothing could stop me from telling others about Jesus. I’m sure I was a bit obnoxious, actually, but my passion was genuine. I wanted everyone I knew to know Jesus. I was just a teenager, but I told kids, teens, and adults about the Lord. The thought that somebody might die lost kept me awake on many nights.
That was a long time ago, however, and I fear that I’ve become far too comfortable with lostness. My head knows the reality of eternal judgment, of course. I can theologically explain the reality of lostness and the doctrine of hell. What I must admit, though, is that I can’t always say with integrity the words of the apostle Paul as he grieved his non-believing countrymen: “I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience is testifying to me with the Holy Spirit—that I have intense sorrow and continual anguish in my heart. For I could almost wish to be cursed and cut off from the Messiah for the benefit of my brothers, my own flesh and blood” (Rom. 9:1-3). Paul’s agony over their souls—his “intense sorrow” and “continual anguish”—was so great that he wished he could be accursed in place of his people so they might be saved.
He knew that he could not save them, of course, as only the death of the perfect Lamb of God could bring redemption. Nor could anything separate Paul from God’s love (Rom. 8:38-39). That reality, though, did not lessen Paul’s grief. He would have been willing to be the sacrifice if that’s what it took for his people to be saved. I read Paul’s words, and I can only sit in wonder. His love for his non-believing friends and family could originate only in God, who did indeed give Himself so that we might be saved.
I want that kind of love for the lost world, but I realize I’m not fully there yet. I am asking God to give me that kind of heart again – to take me back to my early days of evangelistic passion when He saved me.
- Ask God to break your heart, too, over non-believers.
- As God moves in your life, tell somebody about His Son. Speak the truth in love.
PRAYER: “God, change me. Turn my heart toward non-believers. Break me over their spiritual condition.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Psalms 74-76, Romans 9:16-33