"I'll Be Damned"

Verlyn Verbrugge

READ : Romans 9:1-5

For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh. (v. 3)

Curse words like damn and hell have lost much of their power through overuse. “Well, I’ll be damned,” says someone to express mild amazement. He or she had better hope not. To say “I’ll be damned” means, literally, “I’m going to hell,” and if you don’t think hell is real and terrifying, just read Revelation 19:20-21 and 20:10.

Yet that is exactly what Paul is saying in today’s passage. He has an incredible burden on his heart—that so many of his fellow Jews, the descendants of Abraham, the people of God who have received the law, the temple, and God’s covenant promises—are going to end up in hell for refusing to accept Jesus as their Messiah.

Paul writes he would be willing to spend eternity in hell himself if that would enable the vast majority of his countrymen to attain eternal life. That’s the meaning of the word accursed in this passage. What a statement!

Do you have that deep sensitivity for the lost that Paul had—particularly for your “own people” who are not believers? May God give us that same burden, and that same lifelong desire to act on it.


Lord Jesus, Messiah, help me to develop a burden for the lost. In your saving name I pray. Amen.