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Living by Faith

Lent 2023

Read Romans 9:30–10:4

30 What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 as it is written,

"Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame."

1 Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith. Romans 9:30

Paul talks about two kinds of sinfulness in this passage. That of thee Gentiles, who were secure in their sins and not even trying to pursue a righteous life, and that of Israelites, who felt they could make themselves righteous by their own abilities. Neither of these is what God desires. Rather, faith in Christ saves. Yet even this faith is impossible for us to attain! It is a gift of the Holy Spirit, not a human accomplishment.

Luther said this about faith, “One of the noblest and most precious virtues of faith is to close one’s eyes to this, ingenuously to desist from exploring the why and the wherefore, and cheerfully to leave everything to God.” Even when we do not understand it all, by faith, we believe in Jesus Christ and him crucified, and we believe he will guide us through this life and into the next.

We do have his grace and blessing, because it depends on him.


Lord God, you give us faith through your Spirit. Preserve us until you come again. Amen.

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