From The Heart

Publish date: 07/11/1999

Romans 9:30-33  (NIV)

30      What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith;

31      but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it.

32      Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the "stumbling stone."

33      As it is written: "See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."


God, in His mercy, sent Jesus to shed His blood on the cross at Calvary, for our salvation, justification and righteousness - all of us – whether Jew or Gentile. Even though the gentiles were not looking for God – He extended His hand of mercy out to them and gave them the same opportunity to receive forgiveness by faith, as His people Israel.


The problem that Israel had was that they were more focused on their own works than God’s grace. Instead of being happy when Jesus came to lift the burden of religion that they carried - they were angered by the grace and forgiveness that He offered to the sinner. Their biggest problem was their pride. They did not acknowledge their sin before God because they felt justified in His presence by their adherence to the traditions of their ancestors. Good works are good when they are built on a foundation of God’s grace, but they will not purchase righteousness with God by themselves.


The gospel is simple and salvation is free, but it’s very simplicity and straight-forwardness causes people to stumble. They expect something more difficult – something which takes more of an effort from them. They want to feel as if they have earned it. They want to retain bragging rights. You can keep your pride intact if your salvation comes by your hand and your works – you never need to acknowledge your sin and lost state. However, if you are dependent upon God’s mercy – you must humble your heart before God and acknowledge your sin and your inadequacy before Him in order to receive His forgiveness. The thing is – we are totally dependent on God. So our only recourse is to chuck our pride and humble ourselves.



Proverbs 29:23  (NKJ)

23      A man's pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor.


James 4:6  (NKJ)

6        But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."


Titus 3:3-7  (NIV)

3        At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.

4        But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,

5        he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

6        whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,

7        so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.


It doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter where you’ve been, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done, Jesus has reached out His arms of love to you and offered you His mercy. If you have not been washed in the blood of Jesus – today is the day – recognize the fact that you need Him to save and redeem you. Even if you are a believer – you need God’s help every day. You make mistakes and you need His grace. Humble your heart – acknowledge your need – and receive His life and forgiveness.