Don’t stumble over Jesus - Romans 9
In Romans chapter nine, Paul tells about his heartbreaking over the fact that the Jews have rejected Christ. That they had put their trust in the works of the law instead of pursuing God through faith.
“I speak the truth in Christ — I am not lying; my conscience is testifying to me with the Holy Spirit — that I have intense sorrow and continual anguish in my heart. For I could almost wish to be cursed and cut off from the Messiah for the benefit of my brothers, my own flesh and blood.” Romans 9:1-3 HCSB ( https://www.bible.com/72/rom.9.1-3.hcsb )
Paul says that he would almost wish that he was cursed if all of the other Jews would come to know Jesus as their Savior. This shows us his deep love for the Jewish people. This love is what has driven him to witness to others. Wanting others to know of Jesus so that they can avoid being punished and separated from God for all of eternity. May we all who call Jesus our Savior have the same passion for the lost that Paul had. Being willing to go to the ends of the world and suffer hardship for the advancement of the gospel.
Such an attitude is hard to come by in the comfort of the western church and we can all fall into the trap of complacency. Many people are satisfied with being entertained on Sunday instead of challenged to live for God at all costs. May we all ask God to give us a heart for the lost in our communities and around the world, a heart that drives us to action and is unsatisfied with inaction.
May we all ask God to give us a heart for the lost in our communities and around the world, a heart that drives us to action and is unsatisfied with inaction.
“But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.” Romans 9:6 HCSB ( https://www.bible.com/72/rom.9.6.hcsb )
There is a common belief among some in the church that at the end of the age all Jews will be saved. They believe that since the Jews are God’s chosen people God in the end is going to forgive them and restore them to their position as God’s chosen. I believe that this is not true. That one will not be saved just because they are blood descendants of Abraham. Paul has been talking about this issue from the beginning of Romans and pointing out that it is only by faith. Not by works, or by just being a blood relative of Abraham. It is beyond understanding how one can read Romans nine and come to the conclusion that all ethnic Jews will be saved even if they reject Jesus.
“What should we say then? Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained righteousness — namely the righteousness that comes from faith. But Israel, pursuing the law for righteousness, has not achieved the righteousness of the law. Why is that? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone.” Romans 9:30-32 HCSB ( https://www.bible.com/72/rom.9.30-32.hcsb )
Paul concludes this chapter by highlighting the problem that the Jews faced. The problem is that they approached the law without faith, but instead approached it as a work that they had to achieve. From Abraham to David, to Paul, and even until today the key has always been faith. The only way of righteousness is faith in Jesus Christ. The problem for many is that Jesus is a stumbling stone and they are unable to understand or accept, that righteousness is by faith in Jesus. Will there, are there, Jews that will achieve righteousness? The answer is yes when they come to Jesus in faith. Will all Jews be saved? According to Paul, the answer is no as long as they trust in their works of the law.
This should serve as a warning to all of us that we must be careful not to fall into the trap of legalism. Thinking that we can be righteous, or godly, by accepting and following a set of rules. Righteousness has always been and will always be about faith in Jesus. May we praise God for His righteousness that is freely given to all that have faith in the Jesus of the Bible.