The Stone That Made People Stumble

When a person works an eight-hour day and receives a fair day’s pay for his time, that is wage. When a person competes with an opponent and receives a trophy for his performance, that is a prize. When a person receives appropriate recognition for his long service or high achievem … More

Grace

Paul quotes Hosea 2:23, which declares that God would turn from the Jews and would call the Gentiles (v. 25). He quotes Isaiah 10:22 and 23 to show us that only a remnant of Israel would be saved, and that the greater number would suffer judgment (vv. 27-28). Today only a remnant of Jews are believing, and they, along with the Gentiles, are “called of God” (vv. 24-26). Isaiah 1:9 is quoted to show us the grace of God in God sparing the believing remnant (v. 29). These prophecies show to us that only God’s grace has made possible the salvation of the Gentiles.

God doesn’t save people on the basis of birth or behavior, but by their trusting Him and receiving by faith His righteousness. God is faithful, righteous, just, and gracious, and we can depend on Him to keep His promise and accomplish His purpose. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:12-13). We find a paradox, where the Jews sought for righteousness but did not find it, while the Gentiles, who were not searching for it, found it (vv. 30-33). The reason for this was that Israel tried to be saved by works and not by faith. They thought that the Gentiles had to come up to their level to be saved; when actually the Jews needed to go down to the level of the Gentiles to be saved.

The Jewish idea was that a man by strict obedience to the law, could pile up a credit balance in the bank of heaven. The result was that a Jew sought to make God a debtor to him, while the Gentile was content to be in God’s debt. The Jew believed he could win salvation by doing things for God; the Gentile was lost in amazement at what God had done for him. The Jew sought to find the way to Heaven by works; the Gentile came by the way of trust.

Application

God is so good and He has included all of us in “whosoever.” He wants the best for me. The question is: Am I yielding my all to Him?

Romans 9:25-33 (English Standard Version)

As indeed he says in Hosea, "Those who were not my people I will call 'my people,' and her who was not beloved I will call 'beloved.'" "And in the very place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' there they will be called 'sons of the living God.'" And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: "Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay." And as Isaiah predicted, "If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring, we would have been like Sodom and become like Gomorrah." What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, "Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame."

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