What does all of this mean? It means that the Gentiles were not trying to be acceptable to God, but they found that he would accept them if they had faith. It also means that the people of Israel were not acceptable to God. And why not? It was because they were trying to be acceptable by obeying the Law instead of by having faith in God. The people of Israel fell over the stone that makes people stumble, just as God says in the Scriptures,
“Look! I am placing in Zion
a stone to make people
stumble and fall.
But those who have faith
in that one will never
I'm sure you have seen someone "trying to be funny" who pretends to stumble and fall. We may laugh at the comedian who falls as part of his performance, but it is not a joke if you are the one who stumbles and you fall on your face. I once fell down a flight of stairs in our house after stumbling over our cat in the dark. There was nothing funny about it!
There is a stone that can cause you to trip and make you fall. It is not a physical stone and it is very hard to see in this world's darkness. It is what happened to Israel when they tried to be acceptable to God by obeying the Law instead of having faith in Him.
For those of us today who are not Jews by physical birth that stone of stumbling is simply trying to be acceptable to God by anything except faith in Him! We try to please God by the name on the church we attend, by the school from which we got our degree, by the humanitarian work we busy ourselves with, and in a thousand other ways.
The truth is that I am pleasing to God because of Jesus Christ and my faith in Him and nothing more! If you do all the "good works" of Mother Teresa and then some, you will still be acceptable to God only because of your faith in Jesus. All those good works have nothing to do with your place in God's heart.
You see, I "keep the law" because I am acceptable to God, not in order to be acceptable. I do what God wants me to do because I am His child not in order to become His child! In a sense those who are trying to please God by being obedient are just pretending to be followers of Jesus. They may look like and even act like Christians,but they are not standing before God because of their faith in Christ.
"Lord Jesus, help me today not to stumble over the good works that You have prepared for me to do by trusting in them instead of having faith in You. May You Lord be praised today and forever. Amen."