Sorrow and Unceasing Anguish in Heart—Romans 9:1-3

"I speak the truth in Christ-I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit- I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race" (Romans 9:1-3)

What an amazing thing to have a heart for the lost. Paul had the most revelation of his peers and just wrote an amazing account of grace in the first eight chapters of Romans. Then as chapter nine begins he reveal his heart for the lost children of Israel. His sorrow at their dismissal of Jesus was unbearable to him, for he maintained a close and intimate walk with the Lord. Knowing God so well and the depth of his love for mankind, he was broken hearted by those who wanted to remain under the law wrapped up in religion, instead of having this relationship with God.

He writes to us that his consciences confirms in the Holy Spirit his anguish at their obstinacy. The Holy Spirit was bearing witness with his spirit this fact. Not only is this so but it prompted and enlightened him to this truth of how their denial of the Messiah brought the Lord increasing sorrow. Peter said, God is "not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" ( II Peter 3:9 ). His hearts desire is for us to chose him seeing how he has chosen us. For Israel, the chosen race of God, this rejection was doubly painful.

Paul went onto say, "For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race..." ( Romans 9:3 ). As a shepherd and leader called to minister the gospel, his grief at their rejection must have cut deep. It is the same intense revelation that caused Moses to say something similar on Israel's behalf. "But now, please forgive their sin-but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written" ( Exodus 32:32 ). They both knew the intensity of God's love and couldn't bear for their people not to experience it as well. Jesus was driven by this same desire to save His people. So he had come to died in their behalf so the entire would could be reconciled to him and blessed through them as a nation. The Holy Spirit revealed to Paul how this rejection grieved the Lord as well.

No doubt that Paul's desire to see his brothers and sisters come to the Lord sparked an interest among the Jews. Although he was the apostle to the gentiles, he said in Romans 11, "...Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?" ( Romans 11:13-15 ). What a marvelous perspective to have, he knew that the Jews rejection of Jesus blessed the entire world because Salvation first came to the Jew and then overflowed to the Gentiles. So if their rejection meant blessings for the world, what will their acceptance bring?

Today, like Paul I have a heart for the lost. It is my prayer that the world know Jesus in a personal way. No longer through ritual and religion, but tossing that aside to really know him in a life changing way. Today, my spirit bears witness with the Holy Spirit to his incredible love for mankind. May you also understand how he loves you and how you were set apart to bless the world through Jesus, Amen.

Missing the Point—Romans 9:4-5

"the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen" (Romans 9:4-5)

There is no argument that Israel has blessed the world immensely. They have been on the forefront of the worlds stage since the earliest of days. This is because there is something special about them. Throughout their history God has moved on their account is unusual and wonderful ways. Throughout the Old Testament, accounts of his mighty provision and demonstration of power proceeded the Israelites where ever they went. No one could deny that they had the power of God on their side.

In today's passage Paul mentioned a few of the things that were special unto them alone. First of all Israel was considered Gods children. They were God's chosen people on this earth. The people of the earth quaked with fear concerning them because they knew that the one true God moved on their behalf. His divine presence or Shekinah glory went before them in the desert and fighting in battles. His presence was always with them as a people. God also made special covenants with them. It started with Abraham and he was promised that the entire world would be blessed through him. The covenants were initiated, ratified and upheld by God. Next to the Israelites the law was given. He revealed to them the righteousness that he ascribed to and spoke to them the Holy commandments so that they would have a bases to live by and be different from the nations surrounding them. All of it of course pointed to Christ so he also revealed to them the temple worship. He revealed the sacrificial system which were types and shadows of the promised Messiah. Looking forward to the time of Christ which he had promised them as far back as the garden. To Israel belonged the long line of patriarchs. Their ancestry was great indeed and through the natural lineage came Christ fulfilling the promise to Abraham that the entire world would be blessed by him.

Israel indeed has blessed the world. However, they took what was meant to be a close relationship of trust and turned it into ritual and obligation. They were meant to be the vehicle in which the Messiah would come to the world and instead their hardness of heart caused them to missed him when He was here. The Savior of the world was promised to them and they got so wrapped up in religion that they didn't even recognize him when he came to them. Paul said in the previous verses that he had unceasing anguish in heart on account of his fellow brothers. He expressed that he himself wished that he could be cursed and cut off so they would believe in Christ. All of these things that were theirs by God's grace were nullified by their unbelief in Jesus.

This is a great lesson for us today. It is easy to get wrapped up in going to church and being involved in Bible Studies and church organizations and miss the point. It has always been about relationship and that relationship has to start with recognizing Jesus as the Savior. It doesn't matter if you come from a long line of Christians or if you have gone to church your entire life. What matters is that you don't miss Him in life. He is the pinnacle of history and recognizing that He is the Messiah is fulfillment of the covenant that Abraham had with God. Take this lesson from the Israelites who were the beneficiaries of all these blessing through God, don't let ritual and tradition disqualify you from true riches and blessings. It is only through faith in Christ that the promise is fulfilled in your heart.

Today, I am blessed to be a child of God. I am blessed to know that I too, belong to the promise and I am part of God's chosen people in the world today. By faith in Christ, you also are "built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone ( Ephesians 2:20 ). May you rejoice in the wonderful blessing that is in Christ Jesus, amen!

True Descendants of Israel—Romans 9:6

"It is not as though God's word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel" (Romans 9:6)

It is encouraging to know that God's word will never fail, it is as sure as the dawn. His spoken word holds the Universe together and we can rest assured in the promises given to us, found in His written word. God said in Isaiah, "So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it" ( Isaiah 55:11 ). When we hold fast to what he is spoken we can know that His word will accomplish the purpose to which it was sent. Jeremiah tells us, "... I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled" ( Jeremiah 1:12 ). God watches over his word to see that it is fulfilled and that it accomplished the purpose to which it was sent forth.

In today's passage Paul tells us that God's word concerning the covenant with Abraham had not failed even though the Jews had rejected Jesus. Instead he reveals an amazing truth that had not previously been disclosed, "not all who are descended from Israel are Israel." The Bible reveals to us that God is spirit and his promises and covenants are spiritual. Just because someone is born into the natural line of Abraham does not automatically make him a part of the promise to Abraham. Paul said in Galatians, "If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" ( Galatians 3:29 ). God's true children in the world are born again, not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible seed based upon the word of God ( I Peter 1:23 ). God true children and chosen people in the world are born again by faith.

This is because the covenant made with Abraham was based upon the promise of Isaac not merely based upon a son of Abraham. Paul adds clarity to this in verse 8 where he said, "In other words, it is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring" ( Romans 9:8 ). Isaac was the promised. Abraham had another son, however Ishmael was born out of a natural desire to fulfill the promise not the supernatural fulfillment of the promise as Isaac was. This is an amazing thing because it makes an allotment for us who were not born naturally into Israel to because grafted into the promise through faith.

Abraham accepted the covenant with God on the bases of faith. There was nothing that he could do to produce a child with Sarah and they were well beyond the natural age to bear child, so he believe God promise and his faith was credited to him as righteousness ( Genesis 15:6 ). Because of it, he saw the promise God made to him come to fulfillment through Isaac. Paul said in Galatians, "Consider Abraham: "He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you."So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith" ( Galatians 3:6-9 ). In other words, it has always been God's design to credit righteous to us by faith, just as he did Abraham. God knew he would accept the Gentiles on the basis of faith and disclosed it to Abraham because he considered him his friend. So if we have the same faith that Abraham had then we are considered sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus ( Galatians 3:23 ). So in this sense God's word never failed concerning Israel, it has been fulfilled in us who through faith have been born again according to the promise.

Today, I am blessed to be a child of God and to see the promise of Abraham operating in my life. I pray that your eyes are opened to understanding this wonderful truth that through faith in Jesus Christ you are heirs to the promise and a part of God's chosen people in the world, amen.

Offspring of the Promise—Romans 9:7

"Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham's children. On the contrary, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned" (Romans 9:7)

Many times we look to the physical world around us to interrupt it. Being human we based everything on our five senses. However as Christians we also have a sixth sense, which is most important for us in the truths of God. We need to use it to filter the world around us and understand what the Bible is speaking to us. This sense is faith. The Israelites were a natural people and they were familiar with God, His principals and His promises to them. However God's promises are spiritual so without faith it is easy to misinterpret them and miss them completely.

God's promise to Abraham's was having a son through Sarah. He rushed fulfillment of this by having a son with Sarah's maidservant Hagar. However, the promise spoken to Abraham was much more than a physical descent, the promise is that Abraham would be the father of many nations and the he would bless the entire world ( Genesis 12:2-3 ). The promise referred to the coming Messiah. It would be through his seed that the Christ came. Paul said in Galatians, "The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say "and to seeds," meaning many people, but "and to your seed," meaning one person, who is Christ" ( Galatians 3:16 ). Fulfillment of this promise could only come through his wife Sarah. Abraham had to believe God for this to happen because they were well along in years and Sarah was barren. This took faith and the Bible says that because of it, Abrahams faith was credited to him as righteousness ( Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:3 ).

In today's passage Paul tells us that it is not the natural children that are Abrahams children, but it is children of the promise which came through Isaac. Paul adds clarity to this in Galatians 4, "For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise" ( Galatians 4:22-23 ). Remember the promise was that the Messiah would come through his line and bless the world. This blessing came through the birth of Isaac and this came about by faith in what God said. Abraham was justified and made righteous before God on the account of this faith.

The same is true for us who believe in that promise originating with Abraham. If we have faith in Christ as our savior and do not rely on our works to make us right with God, then we are part of Abrahams family and part of this promise. "If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" ( Galatians 3:29 ). What an amazing thing to understand. Through faith in Jesus we do not have to rely on the physical interpretation of God's family, we can rely on his supernatural definition of who his children are. "Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring-not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all" ( Romans 4:16 ).

Faith is the beginning of the adventure. Today I am blessed to be counted among this wonderful promise that Abraham receive of the Lord. Today, I am join with the millions of people who have partaken in the blessedness of his seed, the Messiah. This journey starts with faith by believing in what God has promised us, and it ends with being made righteous and holy before him. Today, I pray that you take the first steps in being reconciled with God through faith in his son Jesus, amen!

Children of the Promise—Romans 9:8

"In other words, it is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring" (Romans 9:8)

It is amazing to belong to the promise and subsequently be a part of God's wonderful redemption plan initiated in the garden, prophesied throughout prophets and fulfilled in Jesus Christ. God chose us and His hope is that we will chose him. It is through the blood of Jesus that we have obtained this sweet and precious promise. Paul told us in Ephesians, "Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ" ( Ephesians 2:12-13 ). We have been brought near and made the true seed of Abraham because of the promise spoken to him centuries ago. The promise was Jesus. It was nothing we could do to obtain it and it was everything that Jesus did for us which brought us into fellowship with the Father. Paul said in Ephesians that He had an intense, wonderful and great love towards us so he reached out in mercy to include us in the promise and to save us by grace ( Ephesians 2:4-5 ).

Paul started out this chapter by expressing his sadness at the rejection of Israel on the account of Christ, he said in verse 4 and 5, "Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen" ( Romans 9:4-5 ). However, in today's passage he is saying that while Israel holds a wonderful heritage, their ancestry cannot bring them into right relationship with God. Paul said, it is not children of the body of Abraham who are God's children, but the offspring of the promise will be counted and Abraham's true descendants ( Romans 9:8 ). In other words, Israel still has to put their faith in Jesus Christ to be counted righteous, holy and blameless before God. To be God true child in this world can only comes through faith in the Savior. It cannot come through reliance on a natural lineage or the faith of the patriarchs.

The amazing thing about being born again into the family of God is that he dwells on the inside of you and fellowships with you in a personal, loving way. It is an intimate relationship. Peter said concerning this, "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy" ( I Peter 2:9-10 ). Just like the heritage that Israel shares, once we are born into the family of God we become part of a holy nation and royal priesthood. We may have started out in life with no hope, no future and no family, but we have been called out of darkness and into God's light. Now we belong to God and we have become the light to this dark world. He has equipped us, called us and loved us and all of this while we were sinners and separated from him.

Paul said in Ephesians, "Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit" ( Ephesians 2:19-21 ). Today, ours future is so bright in Christ Jesus. We are being built into a wonderful holy people where God lives and dwells among us. Through Christ our heritage is wonderful, built on the foundations of those saints who have gone before us which Christ Jesus being the cornerstone which holds everything together. I am so bless to be counted among the promise spoken to Abraham and I am so excited that by faith he believe God and so blessed the entire world. Today, I pray that the truth of how much God loves you will sink into your heart and your response to this will be faith. Faith is what pleases the Lord ( Hebrews 11:6 ) and faith is what will bless the world, amen!

Juli Camarin

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