Pauls Footsteps #362

Footsteps #362 “What does all this mean? Even though the Gentiles were not trying to follow God’s standards, they were made right with God. And it was by faith that this took place.  But the people of Israel, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping the law, never succeeded.  Why not? Because they were trying to get right with God by keeping the law instead of by trusting in him. They stumbled over the great rock in their path.” (Rom. 9:30-32 NLT) 

Footsteps #362What’s the message here, and, more important, how can we take this message that was written in a certain time and place and apply the principles to ourselves today? How can we avoid making the same mistakes in our context that some Israelites did in theirs? 

In words that cannot be misunderstood, Paul explains to his kinsmen why they are missing out on something that God wishes them to have – and more than that, on something they were actually pursuing but not achieving. 

Interestingly, the Gentiles Whom God had accepted had not even been striving for such acceptance. They had been pursuing their own interests and goals when the gospel message came to them. Grasping its value, they accepted it. God declared them righteous because they accepted Jesus Christ as their Substitute. It was a transaction of faith. 

The problem with the Israelites was that they stumbled at the stumbling stone (v33). Some, not all (see Acts 2:41), refused to accept Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah Whom God had sent. He did not meet their expectations of the Messiah; hence, they turned their backs on Him when He came. What the Gentiles achieved by faith, the Jews were trying to achieve by works of the law. 

Before this chapter ends, Paul quotes another Old Testament text: “God warned them of this in the Scriptures when he said, “I am placing a stone in Jerusalem that makes people stumble,  a rock that makes them fall. But anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”(Rom. 9:33 NLT). In this passage, Paul shows again just how crucial true faith is in the plan of salvation (see also 1 Pet. 2:6-8). A rock of offense? And yet, whoever believes in Him shall not be ashamed? Yes, for many, Jesus is a stumbling block, but for those who know Him and love Him, He is another kind of rock, “the rock of my salvation.” On this day, when your lounge floor is covered in wrapping paper, remember the great gift God has given to you

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