I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
What would this world look like if all of us had the same conviction of faith that Paul has? It's moving to see someone willing to lay down their earthly life for others. We call these people heroes. Men who pulled children from burning buildings, or face enemy fire to save their comrades, all the brave men and women who rushed into the towers on 9/11 without a thought for their own safety.
But, how much more heroic is it to lay down your eternal life that others might find salvation? Taking a bullet for my wife or son or Father-in-law or others I'm close to would be something I'd do without thinking about it. But, giving up my eternal life so some complete stranger can spend eternity in Heaven? I'm afraid to admit that I don't know if that decision would come so easily… if at all.
It's sobering to think of that reality. I like to believe I'm a solid Christ follower, but if I truly was, this sort of all-in behavior from Paul would seem normal to me, instead of something that gives me pause.
I have a hard time talking to a stranger about Christ, much less offering to give up the most important thing I'll ever have.
What about you? Where is the line where you no longer sacrifice on instinct, but have to stop and think about it? Would you give up your eternal life for your family? Friends? Co-workers? Neighbors? Strangers?
It's thought provoking if nothing else…