Do You Care About the Salvation of Those You Care About?
We need to remember that the books of the Bible were not written in chapters and verses. The book of Romans was a letter; intended to be read in one sitting. Chapters 9-11 deal with the same subject matter, the rejection of Christ by the people of Israel. If you are not familiar with these chapters, I suggest you take about 10 minutes or less and read through these three chapters as we begin a look at them in some more detail. Entire books have been written about these chapters so we will just “fly over” them; but if you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to ask…I’m not sure I will have great answers but….
In Romans 9 Paul begins a discussion of the connection between himself, Israel, faith and the law. It is a complicated connection. What I first want to talk about is how passionate Paul is about the spiritual state of his countrymen. This is how he expresses this passion: I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, Paul is so passionate about his desire for his countrymen to be saved that he would exchange his own salvation for theirs if he could. Paul is saying that if it was possible, he would separate himself from Jesus Christ if that meant others would follow Christ. Now, this is a hypothetical situation of course, no such “deal” can be made; but it brings up a good point.
The point is “How passionate am I about the salvation of those I care about?” Does the love that I feel for Jesus and from Jesus cause me to feel this way about those I know who have not received Jesus as Savior? Do I feel this intense emotion and desire to see others have a relationship with Jesus? I confess that this doesn’t consume me the way that I think it should. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have a conversation without talking about Jesus with your family or friends. You don’t really want to be “that person” at the family reunion. When someone asks you to pass the soup, you don’t want to say, “Sure, I’ll pass the soup…boy this soup is hot, really hot…it reminds me of the hell you’re going to be in someday if you don’t receive Jesus”…Don’t do that…but do allow a passion for the eternal soul of those you love move you to pray and to seek opportunities to share your faith and live out your faith whenever possible.