As I read Romans 9:1-3, I saw the great emotional anguish Paul suffered because his Jewish kinsmen remained unsaved. Paul wished himself to be eternally accursed and to suffer God’s unending punishment in hell — if it meant the salvation of his fellow Jews.
Three agonizing occasions came to mind, in which I had to sit by helplessly while a loved one endured extreme difficulties. A terminal illness afflicted one, creating the need for major multiple life-prolonging procedures. Another suffered from the aging effects of Alzheimer’s, eventually losing her awareness of all familiar surroundings. A devastating mental illness robbed me of the third one I cherished. In each situation, I questioned if it wouldn’t have been easier to switch places with them than to witness their suffering.
Immediately, I was convicted by the selfish desire to alleviate my agony, evidenced by my unwitting confession of what I’d lost. My willingness to take their place involved an awareness that it would end my own emotional torment. Not so with Paul.
Although Paul understood the exchange he was suggesting was impossible, it demonstrated the sincere expression of his deep, sacrificial love for his fellow Jews. What an authentic display of Christlike love!
How much more was that love displayed when Jesus took our place and willingly bore the wrath of God on the cross that we may become the sons and daughters of God by faith!
On what occasion would you trade places and suffer in order to save someone else?
Father, may we be as burdened for the lost who do not know you as their personal savior as Paul felt for the Jews of his time. May the burden result in a sacrificial life lived to share the Gospel. Amen.
Go Deeper — Create a list of scripture verses, such as today’s, you can use to encourage yourself and others who may have loved ones that are rejecting the call of the Gospel.
Read Further — Will God Condemn People Who Have Never Heard About Jesus?
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