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Let’s begin looking at this good question by reading Romans 9:1-3, “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.”  Along with these verses, let’s also read Romans 10:1-3, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”  These are the words of the Apostle Paul expressing his great, great desire for the salvation of the nation of Israel. 

Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles, while Peter was the apostle to the Jews.  In Galatians 2:7-8Paul states, “But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles.)”  Although Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles, and his work was mainly among them, he had a tremendous longing that the Jews would repent and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior.  They had a zeal for the Lord, but not according to knowledge.  Rejecting the Lord Jesus, they sought to please and appease God by making themselves righteous by their works.  Their good works could not save them, even as our good works cannot save us.  We read in Acts 4:12, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”  There is only one way of salvation; one name that can give eternal life; only One person that can save.  It’s said of the Lord Jesus in Hebrews 7:25, “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him…” 

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation.  However the Jews had said in Luke 19:14, “…We will not have this man to reign over us.”  As a whole, the nation of Israel rejected the One who could save them.  The Apostle Paul grieved greatly over the nation’s rejection of the Lord.  As we read in Romans 9:3Paul said, “For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.”  In essence, Paul was saying that he would give up his salvation if only Israel would be saved.  Of course, it is impossible to trade one’s salvation for the salvation of another, but Paul is expressing how greatly he desired the nation to come to the Lord.

Moses expressed a similar desire for the salvation of the Jews.  We read in Exodus 32:30-33, “And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the LORD; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin. And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.”  Moses sought to intercede for his people, even to the point of asking the Lord to blot his name out of the Lord book if He would not forgive the sins of His people.  The Lord straightly told Moses that it was the one who sinned that would be judged. 

This brings up a very interesting question.  How much do you long for the salvation of those around you?  Do you spend time in earnest prayer for their salvation?  Do you take each opportunity the Lord provides to talk to others about their need of a savior?  Do you anguish over their lost condition so much that you would be willing to sacrifice your time and energy to try to win them for Christ?  May we all have hearts like the Apostle Paul and Moses who longed greatly for the salvation of others.  (137.5)