For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, Romans 9:3
Wish – Paul’s wish is much more than a figure of speech. He chooses the Greek word euchomai; a word that is usually associated with praying or making a vow. In fact, this word is the most common word for prayer in the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. Paul’s choice only emphasizes the intense emotional suffering that he experiences on behalf of his unrepentant Hebrew brothers and sisters. Paul agonizes over their apostasy. He would vow to accept the sentence of God’s wrath himself if that would redeem them.
But it won’t.
God’s grace is not a commodity. It cannot be exchanged or transferred from one person to another. It is exclusively restricted to the one who repents and returns to the Lord. All others are left behind.
Have you considered the terror of this theological truth? Paul knew it and it made him weep. Some of his friends, some of his family, some of his fellow countrymen were lost and in peril of God’s wrath. The very thought broke him. He would have given his most precious possession, the grace of Jesus, to bring them back to the Father. But redemption does not work that way. Salvation is a strictly individual matter.
Are you kneeling with Paul as he pleads for these people? Does their hopelessness before the judgment seat of the Almighty strike terror and agony in your heart? Do you feel such agony that you would give up your invitation to heaven in order to rescue one you love?
That’s exactly how Jesus felt when he came for you.