Romans 9:30 – 10:4

9:30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, who didn’t follow after righteousness, attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith; 9:31 but Israel, following after a law of righteousness, didn’t arrive at the law of righteousness. 9:32 Why? Because they didn’t seek it by faith, but as it were by works of the law. They stumbled over the stumbling stone; 9:33 even as it is written,

“Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and a rock of offense;
and no one who believes in him will be disappointed.”

10:1 Brothers, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God is for Israel, that they may be saved. 10:2 For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 10:3 For being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, they didn’t subject themselves to the righteousness of God. 10:4 For Christ is the fulfillment of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

(WEB)

You can attain righteousness — even the righteousness which is of faith — without trying for it, without being aware of it; you can follow the works of the law and get nothing but a stubbed toe.

2 Comments

  1. Good insights Ivan. That is what grace is all about.

  2. Ivan said

    Thanks Bill. What’s interesting to me is that Paul seems to be saying that you can “attain to righteousness” without consciously following the law: the Gentiles who are a law unto themselves. He’s not saying “only the Gentiles who have received Jesus”, he’s saying “the doers of the law will be justified” — whether they’ve heard it or not — i.e., whether they’ve received Jesus or not. So, you can get into Heaven, as it were, without being a Christian.

    When Paul says “Then what advantage does the Jew have? Or what is the profit of circumcision?” (Romans 3:1) I think it’s fair to interpret that now as “What advantage does the Christian have?”

    I think that is an important challenge. Generally I think Paul is not very bright but sometimes he really hits the nail on the head. If everyone was going to get into heaven anyway (which is one interpretation of the scripture), would you still be a Christian, and why, and what good would it do you?

    I’m not trying to wangle out of my project early. I think there has to be a way to answer yes to that first question and give good answers to the other two (actually it’s not that hard. It’s that same kind of question as “If you found out that liking Shakespeare would not get you a better job, would you still like Shakespeare and why?”).

    Sorry to be long-winded, I’m in a hurry 😀

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