The Jewish failure.
The Jews did not attain to the righteousness, not because God rejected them, but because they failed to understand the righteousness they pursued. Jews convinced themselves that righteousness and salvation is their national right because God chose them. They were unable to realize that righteousness is not an entitlement, but a gift from God. Even though they had clear prophetic information concerning the coming of the promised Messiah; they ignored it in favor of their interpretation of prophecy and conclusion concerning how God will fulfill His promise. Their theory relative to interpretation of the prophecy became more critical than the prophecy itself. Accordingly, the Jewish leaders and those loyal to them were hardened by self-deception. Paul reminds the Jews that the Sovereign God chooses who He wants. “Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.” Romans 9:18, NIV.
The Jews who rejected Jesus were not lost because they were hardened. They were hardened because they were lost. They were lost because they were sinners by nature, which they refused to admit. Jews convinced themselves that because they obeyed the letter of the law of Moses, they were not sinners. According to Jewish understanding only the Gentiles, who did not have the law, were sinners. Therefore, the Jews pursued righteousness through strict obedience to the letter of the law of Moses. They deliberately ignored the fact that the righteousness is through the Son of the promise, Jesus Christ only, not through obedience to the Ten Commandments.
“What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, righteousness by faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? They pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the ‘stumbling stone’”. Romans 9:30 – 32, NIV. Many fail to understand that even the best works Jesus could do through us, the sinners, could not make us righteous. Only what God did, while in the body here on earth, makes us righteous in His eyes. The letter of the law could not take precedence over Him to whom the spirit of the law points – Jesus Christ. The sinners could not be redeemed through the fulfillment of the law because the sinners could not obey the law correctly. The Messiah and He only is the fulfillment of the law, and He is perfect. (Hebrews 2:10)
Continued in the next blog.