Our Deep Compassion for Those Who Say No to Christ.

We began our study of Romans last year using an outline from Alva J. McClain. We studied Condemnation and Salvation in chapters 1-8. Now we begin the section on Vindication in chapters 9-11. The key question for this section is "Why was Israel set aside?" The answer we will find in Romans 11:30-32 is that God might show mercy to all.

Though still full of doctrine, Romans 9 begins the practical part of this book. Our daily life is based on what we believe. This section is not parenthetical but makes sense in the context of the whole book. In Romans 9:1-5, Paul begins the section with a personal application.

The Struggle of an Assured Believer

Paul affirms in verse 1 that he is assured he is in Christ. Even the most mature Christians have the struggle he is about to discuss. Failing to work through this struggle makes one's Christian walk difficult. Grief for others can distract us and paralyze our joy.

Paul uses very hypothetical language in verse 3: "I could wish." He knows it is not a possibility, but he would be willing to be accursed so that thousands of others would know Christ. The word for "accursed" is the same used in Galatians for those who teach salvation by works, anathema, a very strong word. Paul would sacrifice himself for the spiritual life of those closest to him in biology and heritage, the nation of Israel.

Israel as a nation had received much spiritual privilege, which Paul lists in verses 4-5. They were given the most information about the coming Messiah, who even came from their ancestral line. Despite the covenants and promises and foreshadowing of the Temple worship, they rejected Christ the Messiah when he walked among them.

A Christian's heart breaks for people they know who refuse to accept Christ though they know so much about Him. We grieve over people who once professed Christ but now live in denial of His sanctifying power.

This may be a sober passage, but do not despair! This section of Scripture ends in worship and rejoicing! (See Romans 11:33-36.)

Application Points

  • Do you have the same struggle that Paul describes in your life? Do you grieve for those who know God's Word but refuse to accept and submit to Christ? It will be to some degree for every growing Christian.
  • Do you know a lot of God's Word? Have you seen the lives of Christians be transformed? Do you still refuse to accept the truth for yourself and submit your life to Christ? For the sake of your own soul, accept Christ today!

Tools for Further Study

A Hymn to Encourage: "The Love of God"

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.

When years of time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men, who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.