Paul begins his writings in Romans chapter 10 with a sentence: “Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.” This sentence may look simple, but actually, it has a very complicated understanding. Is that possible for a prayer to change a circumstances? How does it relate to God’s order on human’s free will? To be able to answer the question, we would need to further examine Rom 10:1. The word “heart’s desire”, in the original text is eudokia (εὐδοκία), which also means “choice, good will, kindly intend, benevolent”, and it also means “desire, delight, pleasure, and satisfaction”.
Paul is a figure of God’s servant who serves with a true and pure heart. His heart attitude us seen from his longing to save his nation. That kind of longing which can satisfy him and it is also his needs , as if he is poor and needy. The word “desire” is actually not as strong as the word “longing for”, and Paul is longing for his people to be saved.
The salvation here is intended to let his people really understand the meaning of the Messiah’s coming, which is to restore human to God’s original plan, so that they can be similar to Jesus (Rom 8: 28-29). It is more than just being a Christian by religion, or a member of a church. Paul could have this longing, for he truly had experience the true salvation. This true salvation makes Paul wants others to have the same experience as he has. If a priest does not experience the true salvation, his desire to bring others to true Christianity or to the church, is merely to make people becoming Christian, and become a member of his church. Therefore, some of those kind of God’s servants, could have hidden desire to make the church’s name, or his name great, and to gain material benefits.
The strong longing heart of Paul for the salvation of his people, has made him declared such a remarkable statement in Romans 9:1-3 that : ” I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race.” If a God’s servant has experienced a true salvation, then he must be willing to sacrifice anything for other’s true salvation. No wonder these people are willing to work hard for God’s work without demanding rewards. In one of his statements 1 Cor 9:18, Paul says that his reward is that he can work without being paid (What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the Gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights as a preacher of the Gospel).
We can learn a very expensive lesson from the above explanation. If nowadays, we encounter many ministries, or church activities which purpose is for material purposes and outward pride, that’s because those God’s servants do not know and experience the true salvation. Basically, they have not been saved in accordance with the standard of salvation taught in the New Covenant Bible. Why is it said as the salvation of the New Covenant? Because the Lord Jesus Himself, teaches the salvation of the New Covenant, and then elaborated in detail by His apostles.
The salvation taught in the New Covenant leads to the renewal of life, to be perfect as the Father, or similar to the Lord Jesus. Moreover, the salvation in the New Covenant does not emphasize to worldly things at all, for the Chosen people focus is towards the Kingdom of Heaven or things above. The salvation that is taught in the Old Covenant leads to the life of prosperity on this earth, that is how physical needs are fulfilled and experience outward success. This has become the mindset of the Old Covenant people, that have not known the truth of the Gospel. The mindset of many pastors and preachers is focus on the Old Covenant and they prioritize physical prosperity. They did not realize that they are teaching fake or false gospel. As they refer their teachings and views on the Old Covenant, therefore they and the congregation do not realize this apostasy. Actually, such speakers have not known, experienced and owned the right salvation. Therefore, their motive of ministry is incorrect.