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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 9 - Verse 32

Verse 32. Wherefore? Why. The apostle proceeds to state the reason why so uniform and remarkable a result happened.

They sought it not by faith, etc. They depended on their own righteousness, and not on the mercy of God to be obtained by faith.

By the works of the law. By complying with all the demands of the law, so that they might merit salvation. Their attempted obedience included their prayers, fastings, sacrifices, etc., as well as compliance with the demands of the moral law. It may be asked here, perhaps, how the Jews could know any better than this? How should they know anything about justification by faith. To this I answer,

(1.) that the doctrine was stated in the Old Testament. See Hab 2:4. Comp. Ro 1:17. Ps 32; Ps 130; Ps 14. Comp. Ro 3; Job 9:2.

 

(2.) The sacrifices had reference to a future state of things, and were doubtless so understood. See the epistle to the Hebrews.

(3.) The principle of justification, and of living by faith, had been fully brought out in the lives and experience of the saints Of old. See Ro 4; Heb 11.

 

They stumbled. They fell; or failed; or this was the cause why they did not obtain it.

At that stumbling-stone. To wit, at that which he specifies in the following verse. A stumbling-stone is a stone or impediment in the path, over which men may fall. Here it means that obstacle which prevented their attaining the righteousness of faith; and which was the occasion of their fall, rejection, and ruin. That was the rejection and the crucifixion of their own Messiah; their unwillingness to be saved by him; their contempt of him and his message. For this God withheld from them the blessings of justification, and was about to cast them off as a people. This also the apostle proceeds to prove was foretold by the prophets.

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