SUBJ: The sorrowful burden of Paul
for his nation of Israel and the experience of that burden as exemplary
in that he clearly places himself in imitation of Christ and His
AIM: That we might think of those
we love in the flesh and others living apart from Christ and the gospel
and express a similar burden for them and act toward them in a
INTR: Paul’s powerful argument for
justification by faith and the assurance that comes by that same faith
concluded at the end of chapter 8. He now begins what some see as a
parenthetical section of the book in that it focuses a lot of attention
on the Israelites to whom he ministered.
1. While there is much
reference here to Israel, evident from the beginning, much of it is
presented as a backdrop against the portrayal of the purpose of God in
2. We will call special attention to the way Paul
expresses the burden he feels for these people despite much that he
suffered from them and note his determination.
3. In the section
following this we will find some of the strongest arguments for the
sovereignty of God and yet here Paul is strong in expressing his desire
for the salvation of his people.
THESIS: We would take from this that our business is to look to
the plight of others and to seek their salvation and still rejoice in
the fact that when it occurs is it all of grace and the sovereign
purpose of God.
I. A proper expression of conscience (vv. 1-2)
1. This is not about what has just been said. It is rather looking to
what he is going to say concerning his love for his fellow Israelites.
2. The emphasis here is expressive of the depth of feeling that he
experienced in the matter of the Jews rejection of Christ.
1) This is
different from the casual observation we so often offer with no
remediation in view
2) It would suggest to us that we should as we
think upon the examples we find in the word from Jesus to Paul and
others that we truly need to bear the burdens of others to the Lord.
3. We would not lose sight of the fact that Paul has often spoken
critically of the Jews before, even in this epistle.
1) He was not
glossing over their offences nor was
2) He missing the fact of their
3) It is that he truly loved his kinsmen according
to the flesh.
4. It is to be observed that one indwelt by the Holy
Spirit will be a man of conscience: The Spirit itself beareth witness
with our spirit, that we are the children of God: Romans 8:16.
II. A statement of true dedication (v. 3)
1. This verse has troubled
many for hundreds of years and we may not resolve it now.
thought of Paul giving up his own salvation in order to save them is
2) And would be inconsistent with the things previously
stated concerning the love of Christ and no separation from it.
That he would be self-sacrificial is not inconsistent with the heart of
a true missionary.
1) In fact, he became the object of hatred and
cursing to these people and
2) He would have willingly died in the
cause of their salvation – His Lord had died for him!
3. There are
other examples to be found in scriptures:
1) Judah would have taken
the place of Benjamin in Egypt (Genesis 44:33).
2) Moses placed
himself squarely in the way with a rebellious people: Yet now, if thou
wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy
book which thou hast written. Exodus 32:32.
3) Who can forget the
agonizing cry of David: And the king was much moved, and went up to the
chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son
Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O
Absalom, my son, my son! 2 Samuel 18:33.
4) But, more than these all
it directs our attention on the One who took the place of His people:
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse
for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
Galatians 3:13 AND For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no
sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2
4. These words spoken in anguish clearly denote the
burden and spoke of being accursed by them, but never about leaving the
Lord he loved so dearly.
III. A further reason for the burden