Summary: Salvation through faith in Christ alone
Romans 9:30-33 12/03/04
Israel did not receive salvation even though they pursued righteousness. Why not? Because “they pursued it in exactly the opposite way from that which it is to be found. They pursued it in their own strength, by their own works, by their own merit, and consequently fell into a spirit of self-righteousness” (RC Sproul).
The ultra Orthodox ’Tsivos Hashem’ (Army of the Lord) have been touring north London spreading the word of Judaism. On their van they have a text which reads: ’Deeds of goodness and kindness will bring the Moshiach’ (Messiah). Remind yourself of Romans 5:6 and Ephesians 2:8-10. What would you say to a Jew today who is seeking to bring their Moshiach by attempting a life of works-righteousness?
How does Daniel 6:26 in the OT help the Jew to see their works in relation to the Messiah’s?
Look again at Isaiah 64:6 and try to memorise it. What would you say to a Catholic or someone who calls themselves a ‘Christian’ who is relying on their good works to be acceptable to God? Would you vary your approach from the one you took talking to a Jew?
“The doctrine of justification by faith is a violent assault on human pride” (Sproul). This is why God’s chosen stone causes people to be stumbled or take offence. We are supposed to stand on the Rock and seek shelter in Him. Instead, we trip over the Messiah and our bogus expectations of him and our pride.
Read 1 Corinthians 1:22-25 and compare with Galatians 3:10-14. Why is the crucified Christ so offensive to Jews and foolish to Gentiles? Yet why is the crucified Christ so crucially necessary for putting both Jews and Greeks right with God?
Read Exodus 33:18-23. What does this say about the Father? The Son? Fallen humans?
Verse 33 is a quotation from Isaiah 26:33, but in some versions (i.e. the ones that follow the Masoretic Hebrew text) you will notice that the last clause is slightly different in the OT. This is because Paul is quoting from the Septuagint (LXX) which is the Greek translation of the OT. Also, he abbreviates at times.
So the two versions compared are:
• “Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offence, and whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame” (Romans 9:33)
• “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; whoever believes will not act hastily” (Isaiah 28:16)
What can we learn about Christ and our response, by combining our thoughts from both of these depictions?