Romans 9:30–33 (ESV)
What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. 32 Why? Because
they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 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.”
Israel tried to pursue righteousness through
the law by works. Unfortunately, they were not able to attain righteousness, because the law cannot be fulfilled. It is impossible because of sin. Original sin is a stumbling block that prevents mankind from attaining righteousness.
The Gentiles did not pursue righteousness, but attained it through faith, not by fulfilling the law. Paul is driving home the point that we are saved by faith, not by works.
I pray: O Lord, I give
thanks that salvation and righteousness in found through faith and not by works. We do good works because we are going to heaven, but are justified through faith alone. Forgive me when I confuse the two. Amen.