July 31

Romans 9:3-5

“For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh.” vs. 3

When Paul was encountered by the Risen Christ he spent a number of years in meditation and study. He pored over the scriptures in earnest, revisiting his old convictions and commitments. He emerged fully convinced that God, in Christ Jesus, had done a new thing and, moved by the Holy Spirit, he dedicated his life to articulating the gospel of grace and bringing it to the Gentiles. Even though he did not feel he was abandoning Judaism, most of his fellow Jews turned on him. Nothing that Paul could say in his defense was adequate, and ultimately a huge gulf emerged between followers of Christ and the Jews. This broke Paul’s heart–and here he tells his readers that if he could keep his people in the family, he’d forfeit his relationship with Christ. Sometimes we say those kinds of things too. We say that we’d do anything if only our dear ones would open their hearts to the gospel. In truth, it’s an exaggeration! Paul couldn’t abandon Jesus–the good news was the core of his being. And so it remains for many of us. We know that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, and we make that truth our central value. And we won’t give up the gospel for any reason or any person, no matter how much we love them!

Thought for the Day: Have I ever given up my convictions for the sake of another?

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