In today’s chapter Paul talks about Israel having been chosen as God’s people and why now in Christ, God is available to everyone. He does quote a lot of Scripture in this chapter. He moves to start speaking about the Gentiles and opens with a quote from Hosea:
“Those who were not my people,
I will now call my people.
An I will love those
whom I did not love before”
-Hosea 2:23, NLT (Paul’s Paraphase)
In the Jewish world, before Jesus, everyone who was not a Jew was considered to be outside of God’s love. However, since Jesus, we know that this is not true. But this biggest thing for me comes at the end of the chapter with Paul’s quote of Isaiah:
“I am placing a stone in Jerusalem
that makes people stumble,
a rock that makes them fall.
But anyone who trust in him
will never be disgraced.”
-Isaiah 28:16, NLT (Paul’s paraphrase)
What does this mean? Put simply, God gave the Law (the stone) to the Jews. It was to be a guide for them, in order to find right living. But instead of keeping faith in God, they made the Law into an idol and put their faith on it. Rather the Law is meant to help us realize our sin. Paul writes in his letter to the Galatians, “If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 3:21-22 NLT). So again Paul gives us the idea that Christ is life, but Law is death.
So, we as Gentiles have an advantage over our Jewish brothers and sisters, not a disadvantage. It was believed by the Jewish in the early days after Christ, that the Gentiles needed to become more Jewish in order to receive God’s blessing of His Son. However, as Gentiles we were never slave to the Law, instead we have only ever had faith; and that is Paul’s claim. It is only by faith that we are saved. Believing in Christ is the only way we can be saved. No Law, or any amount of things we do could help us enter into heaven. That’s the point. God has done it all. He has made a way. He has opened the door for each one of us. All we have to do is walk through and go down the path.