I am telling you the truth ·as a follower of Christ [or with Christ as my witness; L in Christ]; I do not lie. My conscience is ·ruled by [or guided by] the Holy Spirit, and it ·tells [testifies to] me I am not lying.
1 He answereth an objection, that might be brought on the Jews’ behalf, 7 and telleth of two sorts of Abraham’s children, 15 and that God worketh all things in this matter according to his will, 20 even as the potter doth. 24, 30 He proveth as well the calling of the Gentiles, 31 as also the rejecting of the Jews, 25, 27 by the testimony of the Prophets. I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience bearing me witness in the holy Ghost,
Before Christ and my own conscience I assure you that I am speaking the plain truth when I say that there is something that makes me feel very depressed, like a pain that never leaves me. It is the condition of my brothers and fellow-Israelites, and I have actually reached the pitch of wishing myself cut off from Christ if it meant that they could be won for God.
O Israel, my people! O my Jewish brothers! How I long for you to come to Christ. My heart is heavy within me, and I grieve bitterly day and night because of you. Christ knows and the Holy Spirit knows that it is no mere pretense when I say that I would be willing to be forever damned if that would save you.
At the same time, you need to know that I carry with me at all times a huge sorrow. It’s an enormous pain deep within me, and I’m never free of it. I’m not exaggerating—Christ and the Holy Spirit are my witnesses. It’s the Israelites . . . If there were any way I could be cursed by the Messiah so they could be blessed by him, I’d do it in a minute. They’re my family. I grew up with them. They had everything going for them—family, glory, covenants, revelation, worship, promises, to say nothing of being the race that produced the Messiah, the Christ, who is God over everything, always. Oh, yes!
O Israel, my Jewish family, I feel such great sorrow and heartache for you that never leaves me! God knows these deep feelings within me as I long for you to come to faith in the Anointed One. My conscience will not let me speak anything but the truth.
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