Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
1 I speak the truth in Christ— I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit— 2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 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, 4 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. 5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
It is interesting that Paul says that he “could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off for the sake of my brothers.” The word used for ‘cursed’ is anathema. It means: total separation from Christ and His offer of salvation; referencing the divine judgment that will fall on those separated from Chris; Anathema is not simply divine judgment for sin; it is a curse invoking eternal condemnation for those who misrepresent the Gospel. This is the length to which Paul is willing to go. Paul is willing to forfeit his own salvation if only his Jewish brothers might be saved. Think for a moment at the depth of his concern for them. Know that this is not something he haphazardly wrote, no he was pouring out his heart to his readers. Paul’s bottom-line in this verse is this: If there were any way he could be cursed by the Messiah so they [His brothers] could be blessed by Him, he’d do it in a minute. They’re his family. He grew up with them.
As I think about this verse, I can’t help but think about John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” It’s powerful.
In fact, what we see here harkens back to what Moses did when he interceded for Israel when God threatened to destroy them by reminding God that his name and honor were at stake in the fate of his people. Moses prayed: “But now, please forgive their sin! And if not, then wipe me out of your scroll that you’ve written” (Exod. 32:32).
But just like Moses, Paul’s wish is an impossible wish, he could never actually become anathema from Christ, for as he’s already told us earlier in Romans 8:38-39, “I’m convinced that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord: not death or life, not angels or rulers, not present things or future things, not powers or height or depth, or any other thing that is created.”
So think about the love Christ has for you, His willingness to lay down his life for you. Paul could only wish that he could do this, but Jesus did it! And in doing it He has shown us His great love.
Now think about the security you have in Christ—the fact that nothing can drive a wedge between you and Christ—absolutely nothing can get between you and God’s love because of the way that Jesus your Master has embraced you.
Take some time and Pray for the lost, ask God to give you wisdom as you intercede for them, ask him to use you to make His glory known.
*From what you have just read and considered, what is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the Gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live out this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the Good News today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible. The Cambridge Bible Commentary, Romans, Best, Ernest.