So Close, So Far


Chapter 8 has come to a close with the amazing truth that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ. It is an astounding declaration over those who have been described in Romans as idolaters, unrighteous, foolish, evil, and worthy of nothing but death. Paul has powerfully outlined that the love of God changes everything for anyone who would believe. Today he starts a new chapter, one where he looks backward to the people of the promise, his people, the Israelites. What about them and their rejection of Jesus?

  • What is your primary emotion concerning the people in your life who do not know Christ?


9:1 I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit—2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. 4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. 5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. What are the three ways Paul said the same thing (vs. 1)? Why would he be so redundant?
  2. Identify the words and images Paul used to describe his feelings for the Israelites in verses 2-3. Have you ever felt like this for someone?
  3. Paul listed eight privileges of being an Israelite that you would think could help them understand and accept Christ (vss. 4-5). What are those privileges and why are they not enough to ensure that someone would follow Jesus?
  4. Identify a few people in your life that have had every opportunity to hear about and follow Jesus but are not. Paul says in verse two that he was willing to die to help his fellow Israelites know Christ. What are you willing to do to help your friends or family experience the joy of salvation and the love of Christ?


The Israelites were the people of promise. God promised that in and through them would come blessing to the world. Yet, when the blessing of salvation in the person of Jesus came, instead of embracing him, welcoming him and worshiping him, the Israelites rejected him. Having the right spiritual heritage, family, or community is not enough to ensure that we will walk with Jesus. We will each choose to embrace him or reject him for ourselves. What a gift it is that so many of us have had someone like Paul who did whatever it took to help us hear about the love that never fails.

  • Spend some time praying for people in your life who do not know Jesus. Pray that God would break your heart for them like he broke Paul’s for the people of Israel.
  • Thank God for the people in your life who care so much for you that they made a way for you to hear about Christ.