The WORD for Today is Romans 9.
Near the end of Romans 9 the Apostle Paul talks about “a great rock”. Later He calls it stumbling stone or a rock that makes people fall. What in the world is he talking about?
The “stumbling stone” is Christ. The Prophet Isaiah (28:16) adds that the stumbling stone is also a foundation stone or cornerstone. What it boils down to is simply this. The Gospel is all about trust or faith in what Jesus has accomplished for us on the cross. When we believe in Jesus, His sacrifice on the cross is our forgiveness and righteousness. His work, not ours, makes us right with God. We can’t add to it. We can’t be deserving of it. And we can’t earn it. “It is the free gift of God so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Jesus is the cornerstone and foundation for our life and hope. He alone has purchased our relationship with God at the cost of His life.
However, that concept doesn’t sit very well with our nature. There is that deeply rooted mentality in all of us that wants to believe that we can “get it right” and earn God’s favor on our own. The Israelites believed that if they could only keep the “Law of God,” they could earn God’s favor and be right with Him. The idea that they could never be “good enough” was an offense and a stumbling stone for them. The same is true today for us. They/we have a hard time believing that hope rests completely and only in Jesus.
I love the last words of the chapter. “Anyone who trusts in Him will never be disgraced.” Our hope is secure. Our Foundation is strong and solid. Through faith in Jesus, we have life and salvation. We can’t earn it, but we can sure live every day in gratitude for it!
What does all this mean? Even though the Gentiles were not trying to follow God’s standards, they were made right with God. And it was by faith that this took place. But the people of Israel, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping the law, never succeeded. Why not? Because they were trying to get right with God by keeping the law instead of by trusting in him. They stumbled over the great rock in their path. God warned them of this in the Scriptures when he said, “I am placing a stone in Jerusalem that makes people stumble, a rock that makes them fall. But anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Romans 9:30-33 NLT