Great Sorrow & Unceasing Anguish (Rom 9)

According to the Bible, a Christian should have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, great sorrow and unceasing anguish. No, those last two items are not a typo, but are vital characteristics of a Christian. How can this be? How can you have joy and sorrow and how can you have peace and anguish? The answer is that you are joyful (Phil 4:4) because you have been redeemed (Gal 3:13) by Christ but sorrowful over those who are not (Rom 9:2). You have peace (Rom 5:1) knowing that you are God’s child (1 John 3:1), but in anguish (Rom 9:2) over those who are following the devil (John 8:44). Knowing this, let us consider how our sorrow and anguish can be channeled into faithful discipleship and evangelism. It is important to know:

  1. I Cannot Save Them. This point is important for two reasons: 1) it increases faith and 2) it cures anxiety. First, it increases faith because you recognize your complete dependence upon God. An effective gospel presentation does not depend on our eloquence or our ability to answer every question. Adrian Rogers once said: “Anything I can talk someone into, someone else can talk out of.” Second, it cures anxiety because you do not have to be fearful of sending them to hell with your lack of eloquent persuasiveness. All you are accountable for is to “give a defense for the hope that is within you” (1 Peter 3:15). We must not let fear keep us from speaking the truth.
  2. God Can Save Them. Related to the first point, this point emboldens us to share because we serve God Almighty (El-Shaddai). Only God can transform a person from the inside. Only God can transform our desires, affections, and passions from worldly lust to faithful love. Because God is powerful to save, we are emboldened to pray. We believe that God is stirring our hearts to pray and speak to them because He is also stirring their hearts to embrace Christ. In prayer, we ask the Holy Spirit to “convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8) and for God “to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 4:6). This is also good news because, with God Almighty, no one is too far gone to be saved.
  3. I Must Share with Them. Just because points 1&2 are true, we must not think that we are inconsequential in this process. God uses us to share the good news with others. God could do everything on His own, but He chooses to use us to share with others. God does this for a very important reason. It is because we are witnesses that God can transform a life. The power of the gospel that saved us is powerful enough to save them. We testify to the goodness of God.
  4. God Equips Me to Share with Them. God not only uses me, but equips me to share with others. Every Christian has a story that we can share with our family and friends. We can share about our life before we met Christ, how we met Christ, and our life since we met Christ. We can then share about the good news of Jesus Christ dying to save mankind from our sins.

Do you have great sorrow and unceasing anguish over a family member or friend that is lost and in danger of hell? I hope so, because if you are not then who is? We must be passionate about sharing the gospel with our unchurched family and friends. This passion manifests itself in a commitment to: praying for them, sharing our testimony and the gospel with them, and loving them. Pray for all of them to become Christians, for God to bless them and help them. Pray for opportunities to share your testimony and the gospel with them. Pray that God would send others to share their testimony and the gospel with them.