The Stumbling Stone or the Cornerstone?

Romans 9:30–What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; Romans 9:31–but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law.  Romans 9:32–

Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone,

What is this stumbling stone?

1 Peter 2:6–For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” 

Jesus is the cornerstone and the stumbling stone.  He is our cornerstone and for the Jews He was their stumbling stone.  They pursued a law that would lead to righteousness based on works but did not succeed.  The only way to righteousness is by faith when we trust Jesus as our savior.

Romans 11:6-But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

Our salvation is by grace not works.  We are made righteous by faith.  It is a gift, not something we earn by our works.  However, works will become a vital part of our lives in Him but there is sometimes a tendency to let good works drive our walk in Him.  Our life will be full of good works as He leads but when our focus becomes works, we lean towards a performance gospel rather than a faith/grace gospel.  We believe we are saved by grace but once saved we must perform the works listed in the written word.  There is sometimes intense pressure put on believers to perform these well-intentioned works.  When we let a performance-based gospel drive our lives we are stumbling over the very precious cornerstone that brought us salvation by faith. 

He will lead us in His Spirit to do many works, more than we are capable of, works led by faith not performance.  Performance is us striving rather than letting Him lead.

Colossians 1:29–For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

Philippians 2:13–for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

He will lead us in many works for His good pleasure.  It will be above our ability as He works through us.

Ephesians 2:10–For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Galatians 3:5–Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith—

He will teach us to hear Him as we follow in faith.  Then He is glorified, not us.  God will bring needs our way.  These needs can be in our friends, family, at work, in our church life or even at the grocery store.  And there are times when our part in meeting needs will primarily be prayer.

I was at the doctor’s office the other day.  I had forgotten I needed to pay $10 in cash.  I reached into my pocket and came up with $6.  As I stood there wondering what to do another patient in the waiting room heard this interaction.  She walked over and gave me a five-dollar bill.  I was dumbfounded and did not know what to say.  I guess she sensed my awkwardness and said, “Pay it forward.”  I handed the receptionist $10 then repeatedly thanked the patient for her generosity.  It was no big thing to her but to me it was God meeting a need through this lady.

Lord, we trust You will lead us in Your Spirit to minister to needs You bring before us.  And we trust You to meet our needs as well.  May we walk in the works You have prepared for us.

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