Are you standing or stumbling on the Rock?
I was recently reading Romans and this passage in chapter nine really made me pause and think:
“What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. 33 As it is written: ‘See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.’” Romans 9:30-33 (NIV)
What does Paul mean when he says that Jesus is a “stumbling stone?” Usually when I hear those words together, that is not a positive connotation. I thought Jesus was the “Rock of ages?” The “cornerstone?” But when I read it again, I realized that Paul is saying that Jesus is only a stumbling stone to those who don’t rely on Him.
Do you put your faith in your works or in the finished work of Jesus?
Just like the Gentiles back in Paul’s time, we tend to try to earn God’s righteousness and favor by what we can do in our own strength. But when we do this, we are taking our eyes off of Jesus and setting ourselves up to fall. We step off of the Rock when we are meant to stay standing on the Rock. But Jesus, in His grace, will allow us to eventually stumble onto Him to get our attention again. His purpose is not to cause us to stumble. His purpose is to be our sure foundation so we won’t stumble. However, God allows us to choose our position and our path.
How many times do you have to stumble onto Jesus before you decide to rest on Him?
“So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.’” Isaiah 28:16 (NIV)
I remember when the song, “Cornerstone” by Hillsong Worship was released and we would sing it all the time in church. Then one day I asked myself, “What does cornerstone even mean?!” So I looked up the definition of the word “cornerstone” and this is what it says:
noun: “an important quality or feature on which a particular thing depends or is based” / Synonyms: foundation, base, bedrock, footing, keystone
Then I found out that the “cornerstone” is the “first stone laid for a structure, with all other stones laid in reference. A cornerstone marks the geographical location by orienting a building in a specific direction." 1 Wow, how significant is this when thinking about Jesus! If we allow Jesus to be the cornerstone of our lives, we are building a strong foundation of faith that no matter what life throws at us, we will “never be stricken with panic” as the verse in Isaiah says. When we rely on Jesus, He will build our lives into something we could never even imagine.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)
The other description of Jesus in Isaiah 28:16 says that He is a “tested stone.” This means that Jesus has been tested by the trials in life and has been proven trustworthy. For thirty-three years Jesus was tempted and tested every day, yet He never failed. He is perfect, complete, solid, and strong. He has fulfilled the qualifications to be our firm foundation because He has been tested. You can trust Him today. He will never fail you. He knows what you’re going through, and He is with you. He will help you through! You just need to rest on the Rock.
“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. 6 Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. 7 My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. 8 Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:5-8 (NIV)
Christ alone is our Cornerstone!
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