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1. Paul’s anxiety for his lost people
(Romans 9:1-3)
1I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit,2that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart.3For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh

The apostle Paul begins his explanation of the situation of the hardening of the Jews, his people, with the strange words: “I tell the truth in Christ”. He does not present a philosophy, or personal views, but speaks out of a bitter knowledge and certainty after going through sufferings, which were not produced by himself, but by his continuance in Christ. He does not share his own beliefs with us, but rather Jesus speaks through him, for the Lord is the spiritual head, and his followers are his spiritual body and his moving members.
Paul confirms to the readers of this epistle that his sincere confession is true, by the words, “I write with my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit”. My Christ is Savior, in whom the Spirit of the truth works. This spirit does not allow lying, twisting, evasion, or imagination, but prompts and leads the followers of Christ to be witnesses of the truth that their statements may be lawful and ripe.
The apostle’s conscience became his spiritual compass. He did not move separately led by his emotions since his heart had been renewed and given up to the direction of the Holy Spirit. This divine Spirit confirmed his peace of conscience and his crystal clear words. Thus, his testimony was true in every sense.
What, then, did Paul testify after this long consideration?
He testified that he had deep sorrow for his disobedient people. The apostle was so greatly sorrowful for his beloved relatives and acquaintances that his feelings of grief would not depart from him.
This great sorrow, due to the growing spiritual hardening in his nation, dwelt in his heart and accompanied him. His heart was troubled that so many of his people were spiritually blind and unable to recognize the spiritual truths which were revealed to them. Therefore, the apostle wanted to save them, but they did not want to be saved, for they assumed that they themselves were righteous, and therefore not in need of the salvation which Paul spoke of.
Paul’s sorrow went so far that he was prepared to be cut off from and to bear the punishment of his people, if that might be a means of their salvation. His love for his people was so strong that he was willing to be refused by Jesus, his savior, if that might be helpful for them.
Paul saw his lost people as his family and tribe. He regarded them as his kinsmen and relatives, as they descended from the same ancestors. He was prepared to do and give everything to save them from the anger of God.

O Lord Jesus Christ, You wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41), and suffered from the disobedience and hardening of your people, but you forgave them their sins on the cross when you prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do" (Luke 23:34). Help us, O Lord, to love our people, to suffer from their increasing disbelief, and to pray for them, as well as for the sons of Jacob, that they may repent sincerely, recognize you, and accept you. Amen.
What was the reason for Paul’s deep sorrow? What was Paul prepared to sacrifice for the salvation of his people?