Questions for Littles: Who did not pursue righteousness (v30)? To what have they attained? What kind of righteousness? Who were pursuing a law of righteousness (v31)? To what have they not attained? Why not—how did they not seek it (v32a)? How did they seek it (v32b)? Over what did they stumble (v32c)? Who was the stone they stumbled over (v33)? What would they have to do with Him in order not to be put to shame? What was Paul’s heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel (10:1)? What did they have for God (v2)? But what was this zeal not according to? Of what were they ignorant (v3a)? So what did they seek to establish? To what, then, were they not submitting? Who is the end of the law for righteousness (v4a)? For whom (v4b)? What does Moses write about righteousness from the law (v5)? What does the righteousness of faith tell us not to say in v6? What would that be to do? What does it tell us not to say in v7? What would that be to do? What does it say in v8? How does this word of faith come to be near us (v8b)? What do we do with this Word (v9)? What do we do with the heart (10a)? What do we do with the mouth (10b)? Who will not be put to shame (v11)? Between whom is there no distinction on this truth (v12)? Who will be saved (v13)?In this week’s Epistle reading, we have a diagnosis of how it came to be that so few Jews were being saved—which turns out to be an important warning about how it could come to be that some among us would not be saved.
Long-story short: the Jews wanted to help their own right standing before God. They were running hard after that law of righteousness. But that was a problem, because what they needed to do was stop and stand entirely upon the Rock of salvation that God was providing—Jesus Christ and His righteousness.
What happens, though, if you’re running hard and there’s an unexpected rock in the middle of the path? You trip hard and fall on your face. So what do these Jews do? They get up and just keep on running!
Now, we should run hard after the law to honor God, to please God, to express our love for God. But we must never ever think that we may do so to be right with God. Just what would we think we could ever add to what Jesus has done?
Did He need our help to become incarnated as a Man? Did we ascend into heaven to bring Christ down? Did He need our help to be resurrected from the grave? Did we descend into the depths do bring Christ up from the dead?
You and I can no more make ourselves right with God than we can help Jesus with His incarnation or resurrection. What are we to do then? Believe in our hearts the truth about Christ that we hear preached—a belief that expresses it in worship and witness, confessing with our mouth those very truths:
Incarnation: Jesus Christ is not just a man, but the Lord God Himself who has become man.
Resurrection: God raised Him from the dead. He truly died a sacrificial death and was raised on account of our justification.We don’t help Jesus make us righteous. We believe and confess that Jesus alone—in opposition to any idea of anything adding to Him—makes us righteous. Let us never try toad a single thing to this, or else we will be put to shame. Not the shame of embarrassment before men, but the shame of horror at the judgment when we would be condemned!
But whoever believes on Jesus Christ, the resurrected Lord, will not be put to shame but saved!
What are you tempted to think helps you stay right with God? Why mustn’t you add to Christ?Suggested songs: ARP51A “God, Be Merciful to Me” or HB271 “Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me”