036: The One Stumbling Block Everyone Must Navigate, And How To Navigate It Well

Devotional On Romans 9:30-33

You’re probably a really great person.  Or, maybe you’re just kind of good.  Maybe you’re even just an average kind of good.  Is God keeping score?  Or is God looking for something else?


In Romans 9:30-33, Paul shares with us The One Stumbling Block Everyone Must Navigate, And How To Navigate It Well 


Here’s a silly dialogue to help make the point.  (Please go ahead and write a better script, and I’d be happy to post yours, too.)

Bob: God can’t be in debt.

John: Yeah, of course that’s true.  How could that not be true?!  God owns everything.  I’m sure he’s richer than the  Kardashians, so why is that even a point of interest?

Bob: God can’t be indebted to you.

John: Yeah, no kidding.  I haven’t loaned Him money, and I’m not really looking for God to owe me anything, so what’s your point?

Bob: Your good life sucks because it’s not getting God’s attention the way you want it to.

John: Ouch, bro, are you even a Christian?  I thought you were supposed to be all like, “Jesus loves you, forgives you, and accepts you.”  Aren’t Christians supposed to be do-gooders?

Bob: If God can’t be in debt, then God doesn’t owe you a “Thanks” for the good stuff that you’re doing.  What’s more, He would never owe you forgiveness, eternity, heaven, any kind of blessing… nothing.

John: So, does God love me or not?

Bob: He does.  But, He chooses who will spend forever with Him.  His choice isn’t based on being indebted to someone’s good life.

John: So, how can I get Him to choose me?

Bob: If you choose Jesus, then God chooses you.


The one stumbling block everyone must navigate is Jesus


1.     God will never be in debt (works doesn’t work) 

Paul calls Jesus the stone that causes people to stumble.  And, Jesus was certainly that for Israel. Paul means that people stumble over the faith/works issue.  Both Israel back then and some people today feel that the way to achieve any kind of spiritual benefit is through doing something awesome. It’s just not true.  All spiritual benefit begins with faith in Jesus.  Without that initial faith, whatever spiritual benefit people think they may gain from being good or doing something awesome is irrelevant to their eternity.

2.     Salvation is by faith in Jesus (it has always been about faith) 

God has not rejected Israel by randomly choosing to elect a new group of people.  Quite oppositely, He still calls Israel, as He calls all people, to become His elect.  God’s election is based on our faith in Jesus. God’s rejection is based on a lack of faith (unbelief).


How To Navigate The Jesus-Factor Well


God will never be indebted to any person.  Because of sin, we are indebted to God, and deserve to be destroyed.  Before we could ever think to cause God to be indebted to us we need to take care of our own debt – and that debt is only paid by our destruction.

We get connected to God only by faith in Jesus. There is nothing good that anyone can ever do to earn favour from God.  We are completely dependant on God’s mercy.

So, choose to believe in Jesus.


What about you?

Are you putting too much emphasis on how good you are?  Do you think that God’s keeping score?  Or, are you ready to choose to believe in Jesus?


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