30 What should we say then? Those who aren’t Jews did not look for a way to be right with God. But they found it by having faith. 31 Israel did look for a law that could make them right with God. But they didn’t find it. 32 Why not? Because they didn’t look for it by faith. They tried to get it by working for it. They tripped over the stone that causes people to trip and fall. 33 It is written, “Look! In Zion I am laying a stone that causes people to trip. It is a rock that makes them fall. The one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” (Isaiah 8:14; 28:16) 10 Brothers and sisters, with all my heart I long for the people of Israel to be saved. I pray to God for them. 2 I can give witness about them that they really want to serve God. But how they are trying to do it is not based on what they know. 3 They didn’t know how God makes people right with himself. They tried to get right with God in their own way. They didn’t do it in God’s way. 4 Christ has completed the law. So now everyone who believes can be right with God.
Israel was seeking God with enormous zeal, but seeking him their way rather than God’s way.
No matter how earnestly they go their own way to get right with God, they are going their own way rather than God’s way. And that is the essence of sin: going our own way rather than God’s way. It’s ironic and sad that the harder they try, the greater the sin that separates them becomes.
In so many things God looks at our hearts rather than our actions. But what Jesus did in fulfilling the law and paying for sin is absolutely essential to me being reconciled with God. If I don’t allow Jesus to die for my sins, then I have to die for them. If Jesus did not fulfil the law for me then I have the impossible task of fulfilling it. God makes it so easy: he gives salvation as a gift. But if I refuse his gift, I refuse the life he gives me.
Australia is increasingly becoming a nation not just of those who seek God and those who don’t but also of those who earnestly seek God in their own ways. That their hearts are to seek God is wonderful, but it’s tragic if they reject God’s way.
I need Paul’s heart for those people. Whilst respecting where they are coming from, they desperately need the truth about Jesus. I need to look for my opportunities to help their understanding of that truth.
Father, please give me your heart for those who seek you in the wrong places. Please give them the understanding of your way to reconciliation. And give me the courage and the grace to play my part in getting that understanding.
Written by David Cornell