1 I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. 3 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).
Paul prepares his readers for the shock they will receive from the enormity of his words, by first assuring them of the genuineness of his heart. He knows his words are true through the witness of both his conscience as well as the Holy Spirit. Here’s the shock: after just saying nothing could separate us from God, he now says he is willing to be separated from God for the sake of all of the yet unbelieving Jews.
Now why is Paul willing to make such an indescribable sacrifice? It is because of the “great sorrow and unceasing grief” in his heart. It is as if he considers his own separation from God would be easier to bear than the thought of his kinsmen being separated. Then, even if separated from God himself, he would at least have the satisfaction of knowing his fellow Jews were not. Wow, now this is true brotherly love, and sounds a lot like the thoughts our Lord Jesus might have had, as “for the joy set before Him he endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2).
Lord, thank You for the love of Jesus that made us His brothers at such an expense! Help us This Day to have this kind of brotherly love for the lost among us. Amen.