Arminian Today

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Romans 9:2-3

That I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.
– Romans 9:2-3

In my continued verse by verse study of Romans 9, we come to verse 2.  Paul expresses great sorrow and he says that he has unceasing anguish in his heart for his fellow people, the Jews (v. 3).  Paul is about to explore the issue of God’s faithfulness as it relates to the Jews and God’s promises made to them.  The Jews who had rejected the gospel could point to Paul and say that God had failed them but Paul is about to show that God is faithful despite the fact that many Jews had rejected Jesus as the true Messiah.

This led to Paul’s intense anguish.  Oh that I had a burden for souls as Paul did.  Oh that I would weep over the lost and cry out to God for their salvation (1 Timothy 2:1-6).  The Bible is clear that God takes no delight in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:32; 2 Peter 3:9).  God desires all people to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4).  God has demonstrated this love for people through the sending of His Son (John 3:16; Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:10).  Oh that this truth would break our hearts, that God desires to save sinners (Luke 19:10).  How many people need to hear the gospel and yet day by day we pass them and never utter the gospel?  How many souls will we meet today who are just seconds from eternity yet we remain silent?  How can they be saved unless we preach the gospel to them (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; Romans 10:14-17)?

John Fletcher pointed out that if Paul believed that God had ordained them to eternal death “to illustrate His glory by their damnation” as Calvin said, it would be ridiculous for Paul to sorrow night and day over the execution of God’s purpose (Romans, Reasoner, p. 396).  I agree.  Paul gives no indication here that he is broken over their lack of being chosen by God but instead of their own rejection of the gospel.  Like Moses before him (Exodus 32:32-33), Paul even longs for his accusing for the sake of his brethren.  He longed for Isaiah 66:7-11 to be fulfilled about his own people.  His desire here is nothing more than their salvation.

Paul is about to explore the issue of election as it relates to Israel but his point in Romans 9:3 is that Jews are not saved simply because they are Jews.  Only those who are in Christ Jesus are now in the kingdom of God (Galatians 3:23-29).  In Galatians 4:21-31, Paul contrasts the two sons of Abraham and he uses them to show that there are now two people: those who are free sons or the children of promise (Galatians 4:28) or slaves (Galatians 4:25).  True children of God through faith in Christ are children of promise, children of the free woman (Galatians 4:31).

Whether a Jew or any other race, we are all saved only through faith in Christ.  Salvation is not found in just being a Jew or by being religious.  We must be saved from sin through Christ Jesus or we are slaves in our sins (John 8:31-38).  Jesus came to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15) and that is what we all are (Romans 3:23).  Yet we can be set free from sin through faith in Christ (Romans 5:1).  This salvation is not accomplished by any works of the flesh (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7) but through faith alone in Christ alone (Romans 1:16-17; 10:1-4).

Praise God for this great salvation!

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Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/09/2013 at 3:13 PM

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