Thursday, February 6, 2014

Romans 9:25-33 - The Stumbling Stone


Paul's distress over the rejection of Messiah by most of the Jews continues in today's post.

Romans 9:25-33 (KJV)
25 As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.
26 And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.
27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:
28 For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.
29 And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.
30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.
31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

In verse 25 Paul quoted from Hosea.

Hosea 2:23 (KJV)
23 And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.

Although Hosea was referring to the Jews, Paul used the verse as a description of the believing Gentiles. They were once not God's people, nor were they beloved, but they will be added to His Kingdom, to Israel.

In verse 26 Paul again turned to Hosea in referring to the believing Gentiles.

Hosea 1:10 (KJV)
10 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.

These Gentiles were not God's people, but they will now be called the children of the living God.

Next Paul quoted Isaiah in verse 27.

Isaiah 10:22-23 (KJV)
22 For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness.
23 For the Lord GOD of hosts shall make a consumption, even determined, in the midst of all the land.

Here Paul drew attention to the promise that God had given to the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that the number of the children of Israel would be as the sand of the sea. Although the Jews believed that this meant that all individual Jews would be saved, only a remnant of them would in actuality be saved. And God would finish the work in righteousness (verse 28).

In verse 29 Paul again quoted Isaiah.

Isaiah 1:9 (KJV)
9 Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.

In mercy God had decreed that a remnant would be saved. If not for that, the Jews would have been totally destroyed like Sodom and Gomorrah. Although Paul was referring to the Jews in this passage, he had already discussed at length the guilt of both Jews and Gentiles regarding sin. It is only through God's mercy that anyone is saved.

So the conclusion is that the Gentiles, who hadn't followed after righteousness, found righteousness through faith, but the Jews, who had followed after righteousness, did not find righteousness (verses 30 and 31).

Paul then asked in verse 32, "Why?"  He then answered. The unbelieving Jews had not attained righteousness because they had tried to attain it by works, but righteousness can only be attained through faith in Messiah Yeshua. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. Surely, they thought, their religious traditions and works would save them, not simple faith in Messiah. It was too easy.

Lastly, Paul again quoted from Isaiah.

Isaiah 8:14 (KJV)
14 And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

Although Messiah was a stumbling stone to many of the Jews, those who believed in Him would not be ashamed (verse 33). The believers would be saved.

The Jews had misunderstood. Salvation has always come by faith, but traditions have a way of blinding us to truth. This mistake is not just made by the Jews either. Gentiles also, whether Christian or not, often find faith in Messiah "not enough." We add to the Word of God. We subtract from the Word of God, creating our own religion and traditions. We put them on a pedestal and treat them like they are God's truth, when in fact, they are lies and distractions. If only a remnant of the Jews are saved, there is only a remnant of Gentiles that will be saved as well. This should be a sobering thought for all of us.



  1. I fear mankind is ever & always attempting to make God in our own image. That broad, spacious road appeals to the flesh. Thank God He has saved us; and keeps on doing so! Walking the straight, narrow path is possible because of His grip & power. Bless the Lord, oh my soul!