Ezra 1-3; Romans 9

Romans 9:30-32 What then shall we say? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have achieved it, that is, righteousness that comes from faith; but that Israel, who pursued the law of righteousness, did not attain to that law? Why not? Because they did it not by faith, but as if it could be done by works. They stumbled over the stone that causes stumbling…

From the notes…

In the conversion of the Gentiles and, by contrast, of relatively few Jews, the Old Testament prophecies are seen to be fulfilled. Israel feared that the doctrine of justification through faith would jeopardize the validity of the Mosaic law, and so they never reached their goal of righteousness that they had sought to attain through meticulous observance of the law. Since Gentiles, including especially Greeks and Romans, had a great regard for righteousness, Paul’s statement concerning Gentiles in 9:30 is to be understood from a Jewish perspective: quite evidently they had not been interested in “God’s” righteousness, for it had not been revealed to them; but now in response to the proclamation of the gospel they respond in faith. Paul discusses Israel as a whole from the perspective of contemporary Jewish rejection of Jesus as Messiah. The Old Testament and much of Jewish non-canonical literature in fact reflect a fervent faith in divine mercy.

 

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