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.
VS 1: Paul was going to great lengths to verify that what he was saying was the truth. This needed to be stated because Paul’s statement in Romans 9:3 would certainly have been interpreted as a hyperbole (exaggeration) if there had not been some clarification.
VS 2: This is not a contradiction to other statements by Paul (2 Corinthians 7:13; Galatians 5:22-23; Philippians 1:4, 18, 2:2, 18, 4:4; Colossians 1:24; 1 Thessalonians 3:9, 5:16; and Philemon 7). Paul did operate in the joy of the Holy Ghost, just as he told others to do. However, there was this continual heaviness and sorrow in his heart when it came to the unbelieving Jews.
This is comparable to those who have lost loved ones who were very dear to them. In the process of time, they “get over it” to the point that they may be considered very joyful people, but there is always that vacancy in their hearts. Similarly, Paul was rejoicing in the Lord, but he always had this great longing in his heart for the salvation of the Jews.
VS 3: What a statement! Paul was saying that he would go to hell in the place of the Jews if that would accomplish their salvation. This is nothing less than the perfect “AGAPE” love that Jesus demonstrated when He died for our sins.
Although this desire on Paul’s part is commendable, there is nothing that he could have accomplished that Jesus hadn’t already accomplished completely. Paul was specifically commissioned by the Lord to go to the Gentiles, yet we see him repeatedly going to the Jews, even after he said he wouldn’t do that anymore (Acts 13:14). Paul even went to Jerusalem, apparently against the instruction of the Holy Ghost, and was more than willing to lay down his life for the sake of the Jews (Acts 21:13). This illustrated his great love for the Jewish people as he was describing here.