They Stumbled

Romans 9:30-33 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believe on him shall not be ashamed. 

‘What shall we say then?’ What shall we finally conclude from all these prophecies? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained it; but Israel which followed after the law of righteousness has not attained it (9:30-31).

‘Wherefore?’ Why has Israel not attained to the righteousness she sought so long? Because she sought it not by faith, but by works of the law and because she stumbled over the way her Messiah came (9:32-33).

‘Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law’ – the Jews were ignorant of God’s way of righteousness by faith in Christ (3:25-31; Gal. 2:16; 3:10-28). They went about to establish their own righteousness by works. They attained not to the Abrahamic covenant, which stands alone on the principle of grace through faith (4:1-25; Gen. 15:6). They set all their efforts upon the law of works and imagined they were justified by outward observance of a few rituals. When the gospel came along offering free salvation to Gentiles as well as Jews on the basis of grace and faith without works, they were offended and rejected it.

‘Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believe on him shall not be ashamed’ this is the 7th Old Testament prophecy fulfilled in Romans (9:33; Isa. 8:14; 28:16).

‘Stumblingstone and rock of offence’ – I will send the Messiah, not as a mighty prince and a conqueror whom everyone will be willing to trust in, but as a man of sorrows, humiliation, and death. Many will think it disgraceful to trust in such a person for salvation. In spite of this, whoever trusts in Him will not be ashamed of Him or be confused.

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