I am doing a series on some of my favorite Bible passages. Here’s one:
Romans 9:1 I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit— 2I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, 4the people of Israel.
Okay, there are some Bible verses that just make you gasp. If they don’t, you seriously need to check your pulse. This is one of them. If this verse didn’t make you lose your breath for a minute you seriously need to keep reading it until it does. This is one of those passages that are so far beyond me I can’t even quite fathom it.
Unless I’m very slow and can’t understand, what Paul (the author) is saying here is that he would be willing to be separated from Christ and go to Hell forever if it would mean that others could know Christ and go to Heaven.
Seriously? That is some crazy, well, you know what. I mean, I consider myself someone who desperately cares about people knowing Jesus and going to Heaven, but would I give up knowing Jesus and going to Heaven so others could? … Well, for my kids I would do that. And for my wife (when we’re getting along!). But for people I don’t know? For people who have chosen to reject Jesus?
I don’t think so.
But I want to get there. And the reason I do is because Paul had the heart of God, and that’s what I want. In fact, in another one of my favorite passages (Jeremiah 4:19), God Himself says, “Oh, my anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain. Oh, the agony of my heart!” (Which Paul almost quotes here, though I’m not sure it was intentional). And why was God’s heart in anguish? It was because, “My people are fools; they do not know me” (Jeremiah 4:22). What broke Paul’s heart is exactly what broke God’s heart.
And God, would You break our hearts with what breaks Your heart as well. Would You give us anguish, pain, and agony for those who do not know You?