Journal Ro 9 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “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.” Ro 9:30-33; cp Is 28:16 and
Observation: Israel v Gentiles; Law v Grace; Works v Faith—Why is it that Man struggles with these principles all the time?
Analysis: I wonder all the time on how to explain the above?
I think that trying to deeply explain why the Law kills and Grace gives life is why the Gospel is so counter-cultural. It sounds so…complicated.
Eden: There was a single rule, a law. Don’t eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam disobeyed. Breaking that one law brought death to all Men. Since then, God has given a bunch of rules, laws; with the singular purpose to show that Man cannot attain a relationship with God by following rules, laws. Man cannot EARN an intimate relationship with God—God has to FORGIVE the transgression.
Sounds simple. Forgive my transgression (not really, what Man wants is not forgiveness but God overlooking my transgression, don’t pay attention to it, just accept me as I am rebellion and all). There is a twist to consider—How can a Holy God accept an unholy Man? I have a root of rebellion growing within and, phooey—I am producing rebellious fruit! Everybody does.
The narrative of the Old Testament was Law; obey the Law, with the understanding that IF man can obey the Law in its entirety, they would be accepted into The Presence. But over and over again the narrative also showed that Man cannot obey the Law. So, instead of the focus on the efforts of Man, it is clear that the only effort that will be successful is the Grace of God.
This is, just like the scripture states, a stumbling stone. Not only Israel stumbles over this principle, but also Gentiles. Why? Two things: 1) Israel thought they had the inside track being the Chosen People and all. Obey the Law, in like Flynn. Except Israel was the example of why obeying the Law cannot work; 2) Gentiles had two things: A) They weren’t a chosen people; B) They did not have the Law, but God provided a conscious, knowing right from wrong.
No matter what side we are on, what is displayed is that God’s Grace, expressed through His Sovereignty, brings the Sovereign Chosen (the Children of the Promise) into His Kingdom. (review Ro 9:6-24).
I don’t know if I could define this as the foundation of the Gospel, but I am pretty sure it is a significant piece of the Gospel. To be sure, I have to be aware that nothing I can do is sufficient to obtain God’s approval, and that surrendering in Faith to His definition of sufficiency in faith (Jesus died for my insufficiency) is what ushers me into Kingdom stuff.
Prayer: Trinitarian God, I know I have to keep meditating and writing to communicate the Gospel effectively. I did somewhat an OK job above in places, other places I am disappointed in. Please give those whom you enable to see eyes to see and read and understand.
Ricky Two Shoes