31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
9:1I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit—2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, 4 the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! d Amen.
6 It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7 Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”
What is striking in this selection is the contrast between Paul’s bold declaration at the end of chapter 8 and his pain and anguish the opening of chapter 9. But they are very much connected. Quite simply, Paul is distressed that his people, the people of Israel, have rejected the incredible blessings that he has just described. Paul is so distressed that he even states that he would be cut off from God if it would bring the salvation of his people.
What gives me greater joy? That I am saved or that the people that I care about are saved? Can I truly rejoice in salvation when so many do not know about it or have rejected it? I think that Paul would say that a Christian who rejoices in his or her own salvation, but isn’t on fire for the mission is selfish and hypocritical. Imagine being in a refugee camp full of starving people. Then suddenly, a crate a food falls at your feet. Can you truly enjoy eating your fill while those around you continue to starve?
This is the feeling that Paul describes at the beginning of chapter 9. There are people who matter to him who do not know the love of Christ. And this fills him with “great sorrow and unceasing anguish.” What about me? Am I content with my salvation when so many do not share in it? Is my heart anguished or numb?
My prayer is that I may be filled with the same fervor for the mission of Christ that filled Paul, unsatisfied until all know the incredible love of Christ.
What is the Word leading you to pray about today?
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 The New International Version. (2011). (Ro 8:34–9:7). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.