I’m traveling with my wife, Dawn now. We are in Phoenix. I’ve been on the road a great deal lately. There are some things I like about traveling. I enjoy making new friends, and connecting with old friends. I’m not thrilled about being away from my family so much. I am hopeful that once we transition to the San Diego – Tijuana area I will be at home more. It’s great that my wife is able to join me on this particular trip.
While I’m on the road I usually have more to write about, but it’s harder to find the time to write. But I have a moment now as we are between meetings, grabbing some ice tea at a Starbucks.
Yesterday we were with some friends that are on the newer side of the spectrum. We visited New Valley Church. A great church in Phoenix that we have a growing relationship with. Then we had lunch with a small group that have a strong interest in missions. We really enjoyed the time!
Scott Brown is the pastor at New Valley Church. Dawn and I enjoy being with him. He is a church planter, and has a heart for the unchurched. I find that we resonate with most church planting pastors.
Scott’s sermon was from Romans 9:25 – 10:4. He focused on verses, 30-33 (ESV):
“What shall we say, then? That the Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued the law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works, They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, ‘Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.'”
Here’s some of my take aways. Grace is counterintuitive, therefore many trip over the stumbling stone of grace. Many including the Jews, in this case think we have to work to earn God’s favor. Often people look to the law, the things they do to save them. The problem is the law is like a mirror. It can show us that we are dirty, but it’s not able to clean us. It can only show us we are not clean.
Paul several times in Romans asks rhetorically, “what shall we say, then?” The answer is always no, until he gets here. Now the answer is yes. Even though the Gentiles did pursue righteousness, they attained it by faith! Israel pursued the law hoping to obtain righteousness, but they failed!
Christ is the stumbling stone. People continually stumble over grace. It’s part of human nature to feel like you’ve got to earn your salvation. Yet Paul here says it’s in faith through God’s grace that we are made righteous through Christ. Christ is indeed our righteousness! Let us rejoice!
In His Grip, Dave