Prayer: O God, show us wisdom and truth through your Word and let it guide us to service for others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
32 Why not? Because they did not strive for it on the basis of faith, but as if it were based on works
It is a common story full of suspense in movies and TV, when the will is read in the attorney’s office and the bulk of the estate is given to strangers and not to the family. The family thinks they are entitled, but the strangers had given the estate owner’s care and attention, while the family just waited for him to die.
In our text today, Paul tells the Romans that the Jews still have it all wrong. They may have been the family, but they don’t have to earn God’s grace by doing good works. Now the Gentiles have been invited to the party and they are justified by faith. It is easy for us to begin thinking like the Jews. We, the ones who go to church, who volunteer, who show up for work parties, haven’t we earned some special dispensation? Well, no! God gave us the dispensation when Christ died and rose and ascended in to heaven. We have this grace already. We can’t earn it, so everybody we meet on the street or in the store, all have been invited to the party. All they have to do is have faith.
Our devotion writer explains; “God seeks a relationship with us through Christ Jesus. We are never entitled to God’s grace, but we receive it anyway. The Lord pours out love, grace and forgiveness on each of us as a gift. This is what God does because God loves us.”
Prayer: “Thank you, Lord Jesus, for caring for us, even though we have done nothing to deserve it. Amen.”
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
30 What then are we to say? Gentiles, who did not strive for righteousness, have attained it, that is, righteousness through faith; 31 but Israel, who did strive for the righteousness that is based on the law, did not succeed in fulfilling that law. 32 Why not? Because they did not strive for it on the basis of faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 as it is written,
“See, I am laying in Zion a stone that will make people stumble, a rock that will make them fall, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
10 Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. 2 I can testify that they have a zeal for God, but it is not enlightened. 3 For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they have not submitted to God’s righteousness. 4 For Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.