Shadows on the Street
Good Friday Morning Joes and Janes;
In the Bitterroot it is overcast and rainy. The cat wanted out but not for long! Clouds are cloaking the very top of the Bitterroot Mountains as I look out the window this morning and fresh snow looks to have fallen down to about 5000 feet overnight.
This morning I was reading in Romans chapter 9. The Apostle Paul is writing this.
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.
In this chapter Paul talks about God’s Sovereign choices over who is saved, but in the first 5 verses we get a very personal view of Paul and his concern for the Jewish people. Paul, as well as the other disciples and Christ were all Jews. It is the Jews who also condemned and had Jesus crucified. Many if not most of them rejected Jesus as the Messiah.
Paul makes the statement in verse 2; “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.” Why does he have this sorrow and anguish? I bet it is because all of these Jews are going around trying to persecute and kill him! I am sure that he is feeling persecuted by those who killed Christ and are now trying to do the same to any of Christ’s followers. After all once the Jews killed Christ the Messiah they no longer are God’s chosen people right? NO!
Though many who teach Replacement Theology would like you to believe that; it is not true. Paul is anguished that so many Jews, who according to verse 4, are the recipients of all of the Old Testament covenants and promises choose to reject them. He wishes that he could give up his own salvation, be cut off from Christ eternally to save those who are lost.
He is in sorrow because he sees that the Jews received so much knowledge about God; the Law, all of the temple worship, (an aspect of God lived in the Holy of Holies in the Temple), all of the patriarchs that God provided to lead the people. God chose the Jewish people to provide the lineage of which Christ was born into the world and yet so many rejected all of this.
It deeply distressed Paul to the point that he was willing, if it was possible, to give up his salvation for the rest of the unbelieving Jews. He was certainly willing to die for them.
That made me think about how I feel for the lost around me. Every day I see people around me who I have no idea whether they will be spending eternity in heaven. At least in America, if not Europe, we have been blessed with much freedom and God revealing Himself to us. Most homes in America have several Bibles in them even if they are never opened and gather dust on the shelf. Most people have access to hundreds of TV channels with at least a handful of them teaching Gods word even if people chose not to stop there in their channel surfing.
We still at this point have the freedom to tell anyone we meet on the street about Christ without fear of being arrested or harmed. So Americans today are a lot like the Jews of Paul’s day. Many people don’t want to hear about God and Jesus Christ. A lot of people claim to be religious or even believe in God, but show no outward signs of having a personal relationship with Christ. Where do they really stand spiritually?
There is the quote from quite a few years ago that says: “If you were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” A few times over the years I have gotten into conversations with people I have worked with and started to share about Christ and they have replied; “Oh, I am already a Christian!” Boy, I wouldn’t have known it by their language, actions or any other outward signs working around them! Now maybe they were or maybe they were just telling me that because they wanted to end the conversation, I don’t know. But, if they were saved they certainly didn’t have the heart of Paul for people around them.
But then that is a really big question; do I have the heart of Paul for people I work and walk past every day? Do you? Every day we meet people that are rushing headlong to eternity an in hell. In fact more and more these days I run into people who are openly antagonistic to anything about God and anyone that carries the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. Am I willing to still give the message of Christ to these people? Are you?
Just something to ponder as you go into the world today.
Posted on April 20, 2012, in DAILY DEVOTIONAL and tagged Apostle Paul, burden for the lost, cup of joe, Daily Devotional, Men's Daily Devotional, Old Testament, Religion and Spirituality. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.