Saturday in the Seventeenth Week of Ordinary Time

Romans 9:1-5

A Heart for the Salvation of Others

Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles, but he never stopped being a Jew.  His heart’s desire was that his own people should come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  Indeed, Christ Jesus himself was born a Jew according to the flesh, ministered to Jews and even said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24).  Paul acknowledged in this very letter that the gospel is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (1:16), and followed this divine order throughout the Book of Acts, preaching to the Jews first in every city he visited.  But there was a problem—a glaring problem—which still exists today, and that problem was, quite simply, that the vast majority of Jews had not accepted the Messiah who came for them nor his gospel which Paul preached.  And even more ironically, the Gentiles had.

So the question had to be asked: What does this mean?  After all, to the Israelites belong the adoption (that is, God had chosen them above all other peoples), the glory (God’s presence among them throughout their history as illustrated throughout the Old Testament), the covenants (with Noah, Abraham, the Patriarchs, the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai, David), the Law and the worship (revealed in Exodus through Deuteronomy), and most of all, the promises of which the prophets spoke (from Genesis 3:15 through Malachi 4:5-6) of a coming Messiah, and so many other blessings.  Jesus himself told a Samaritan woman, “Salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:22).

So how could they have rejected the Christ and the gospel which is the fulfillment of the very promises made to them as God’s covenant people?  It seemed so absurd!  Well, as we shall see, Paul was sure that God’s word in the Law and the Prophets was still God’s word, and that God had failed at nothing; His will would be accomplished, and this is the matter which Paul tackles in chapters nine through eleven.

But what I wish to focus on here is Paul’s heart, his actual statement: “For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers.”  It is reminiscent of Moses’ plea before God after the episode with the golden calf, “But now, if you will forgive their sin—but if not, please blot me out of your book that you have written” (Exodus 32:30-34).  But God would have none of it.  Still, though I cannot say that a Christian should wish to be parted from Christ for any reason, the sentiment is laudable.  May we have an equal desire to see others come to Christ.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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