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.” (Romans 9:30-33 ESV)
- Jesus is the Rock (33): The stumbling stone has become the cornerstone.
- The stumbling stone, or the stone of offense: Acts 4:11-12 says, “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” After Peter speaks these words and they have seen miracles performed, authenticating their message, what do they do? “What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.”
- Why would they do that? Why was Jesus so offensive to them? Think about it. Why would the message of salvation by grace alone through faith alone be offensive to someone trusting in their own works to save them?
- It seems my works are pointless and I have to start over: John 3
- If you give people the message of grace alone through faith alone, there will be nothing tying them to obey and they will live as antinomians, “Hey, I’m saved, I can do whatever I want!” Heads up: Someone who sees salvation as a means to do whatever they want without consequences isn’t saved to begin with.
- It means that the glory of my salvation goes to God, rather than to me: Matthew 23:1-12.
- The bedrock, or the cornerstone.
- Jesus is the rock upon which we are to build our lives: Matthew 7
- Jesus is the rock upon which he builds his Church: Matthew 16; Ephesians 2:11-13; 19-22
What about you then? Are you stumbling or standing? Are you attempting to establish your own righteousness or is your life built on the foundation of one greater than you with righteousness greater than yours, more perfect than yours that has been credited to your account by grace alone through faith alone?
I warn you not to add to the gospel. I have shared this quote with you before, “Jesus plus anything ruins everything.” The Galatian problem was one of Jesus plus. They were believers in Jesus by grace alone through faith alone but they were surrounded by people who said that to really be saved, to really be a Christian you had to add law to grace and act a certain way. Paul asked them who had cast a spell on them that they would believe such nonsense and add to the gospel. Remember the rock that you stand upon and don’t fall prey to the performance trap that forgets the grace of God. We obey God because we have been saved, not in order to be saved. Amen.