At the beginning of Romans 9, the Apostle Paul expresses great sorrow and continual grief for his fellow Jewish brothers and sisters. This week, we further explored the reasons why he experienced such deep emotions.
Paul knew that the Jewish people have so much evidence of God’s existence. No other people group has maintained their national identity, religion, culture, cuisine, and language for as long as the Jewish people have. All of this was woven in within the history and regular rhythms of daily life for the Jewish people.
Also woven in within this heritage is the evidence of the validity of Jesus being who He said He was—the long-awaited Messiah. For all of what was entrusted to the Jewish people for all of their existence was to point to Jesus. And that is what prompted Paul to feel great sorrow and continual grief—the realization that many of his Jewish countrymen were lost without Jesus.
Watch our study of Romans 9:4-5 as we considered the great heritage of the Jewish people and the great hope that is offered through Jesus.
The love of Christ compelled Paul to not only be willing to be bound, but to die for Jesus (Acts 21:13). In his letter to the Romans, he goes even further to say that he wished he could be accursed from Christ so his fellow countrymen could be saved (Romans 9:3).
This passion came out of the overflow of his awareness of the mountaintop of Romans 8 (nothing can separate us from the love of God) and the valley of Romans 9 (the realization of the future that awaits those who refuse to receive God’s gift of salvation in Christ). This is how the love of Christ looked as it work its way out of the overflow of the heart of Paul.
Here’s a question for us to consider: what does the love of Christ look like as it overflows in your life? Remember: there is no shame or condemnation for those who are in Christ, but there might be conviction—when we finally say what the Holy Spirit has been saying.
There might be conviction that we haven’t been under the spout where God’s love pours out. Maybe there’s conviction that we haven’t allowed our cup to overflow, let alone be filled up. Maybe there’s conviction that we think more about the things of the world rather than the promises of God.
If we would simply turn from that meaningless nonsense and invest time thinking through and meditating upon the truths of God’s word, then we would find ourselves compelled by the same love that Paul was compelled by. Maybe not to die or be accursed from Christ, but to make an effort to die to ourselves and to serve Christ and others.
That’s what investing time with Jesus in His word will do—it will cause you to care. It will change you from the inside out. It will compel you to live counter-culturally by sacrificially putting other’s interests above your own.
Last week, we finished Romans 8, where the Apostle Paul described the highest heights of our eternal condition in Christ. Those eight chapters led us up to a mountaintop of truth…and in the next sentence, Paul immediately brings us into a deep valley of grief and sorrow.
What could possibly pull Paul off that mountain top and plop him into a valley of grief and sorrow? How could the assurance of nothing ever separating us from God’s love lead Paul (in the very next sentence) to confess the “great sorrow and continual grief” in his heart?
The answer…is something we discovered this past Sunday as we began Romans 9. Watch our study as we learned about Paul’s realization for those who aren’t in Christ, how we share that sorrow and grief, and—most importantly—what our response should be!
*Due to some technical difficulties, the audio drops out around 28 minutes into the message, but comes back about a minute later.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
God is for us and no one can be against us. Even if our greatest enemy intends the greatest evil against us, God can allow this for our good. For we know that all things work for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
And what is His purpose? That we would be conformed to the image of His Son—a glorious process, but not one that is without pain. And when the pain clouds our vision and tempts us to question His love for us, the cross remains to remind us that He does love us and He is always good.
He is for us. He is with us. He will freely give us anything that would be of eternal benefit to us. And if He doesn’t, that means that He has a better plan and a better purpose for us. What He is allowing to happen is working out that plan and that purpose in our lives.
“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)
In the last portion of Romans 8, the Apostle Paul gets inquisitive. In just six verses, he asks seven questions. But the questions he asks aren’t because he’s curious. He asks them with the aim of producing an effect rather than eliciting information.
They are good questions to ask and for us to consider—especially in light of the clear and compelling, layered and logical argument Paul has been making since the beginning of his letter. The question marks in this section are answered with a resounding exclamation point as Paul draws the immutable conclusion that God is for us and nothing can separate us from His love!
Watch our study from Sunday as we slowly and carefully considered the eternal truths at the end of Romans 8.
“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses.”
The original word that’s translated ‘weaknesses’ literally means “frailty of the soul.” The definition goes on to say, “a soul without the strength and capacity requisite to understand a thing, to do things great and glorious, to restrain corrupt desires, to bear trials and trouble.”
These are the weaknesses that the Holy Spirit helps us with when waiting and enduring has been so draining that is seems like we just can’t understand a thing. He brings us His aid when we can’t do anything—let along great and glorious things. And He offers us His help when we can’t restrain corrupt desires and we just can’t bear any more trials and troubles.
Praise God that we have a Helper to help us in our weaknesses! He is here to help us when our soul lacks strength to understand, to do what we need to do, to navigate temptation, and to endure pain.
God’s purpose conforming us to the image of His son can be a painful process. But one day, that process will be complete. The weaknesses and frailty of our souls will come to an end. Until then, our Helper will be present to help us—even when we are so weak that we don’t even know what to pray for.
There are a finite number of days until we are with Jesus in Heaven—forever! Until then, we lift up our heads and stand on our toes looking for and eagerly awaiting what is to come. As we wait, we have the hope of Jesus and Heaven in our hearts.
And yet…this time of waiting can seem unbearable and difficult, can’t it? At times, we find we don’t know what we should be praying for. We have the hope, but is there help?
YES! There is help from a Helper—the only Helper who helps us in so many ways. The Apostle Paul knew of the difficulties in this time of waiting. He also knew of the help that God offers us.
Watch our study from this past Sunday as we considered Romans 8:26-30 and the many ways the Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses.
From Pastor Dom...
When I first gave my life to Jesus, there were friends in my life who helped me to grow in my understanding of God, through His word, and for those friends