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.
The truth of the matter is that we do not deserve God's grace. The Jews do not deserve God's grace, and neither do the gentiles. We all sin and therefore we all deserve God's wrath.
Yet God throughout the Old Testament chose the Israelites to be his people. He gave them the law, he gave them the prophets, he even gave them Jesus. As a nation, Israel was blessed super-abundantly by God and shown is mercy and grace. They were told his plan of salvation through the prophets. We, Gentiles, were not part of that. We were not chosen by God throughout the Old Testament. Yet Jesus came and he died not only for the Jews, but for the Gentiles as well. For anyone who will turn to him.
And it is God who chooses. He chooses who he will save and who he will condemn. The Jews cannot trust in their heritage, because God could raise children of Abraham from stones if he wanted (Matthew 3:9). This is what Romans 9 is about. The Jews are not saved because they are Jews. Likewise, we are not saved by anything in us. It is entirely God who saves, it is entirely his work. Jesus is the Messiah, and he is God over all creation. He deserves all glory, and it is his right to decide what he will do with his creation.
Aside from that, one application. Paul says: "I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people". How much do we wish that God will save our friends? Our family? Those around us who we don't even know? We need to desire it above anything else. Would I be willingly cut off from Christ if it would save those around me? If it would save my family and friends? If it would save those I don't get on with? I don't know the answer to that. Would you? Either way, if that should be our desire, then how much more should we make every effort to share the gospel with those around us since we are God's people?
How much do you share the gospel?
It's something I really struggle to do.