Unlimited: Israel’s Failure
May 15, 2023 273
What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain (Romans 11:7a).
Paul’s question, “What then?” follows his assertion that there is at the present time a remnant chosen by grace, not based on works. He is asking, in effect, “What has happened to Israel?”
The prophets from the beginning until the time of the Babylonian captivity had constantly called Israel and Judah to repent of their worship of false gods, and to return to obedience to the covenant that God had made with them at Sinai.
It looked like they had learned their lesson after their captivity in Babylon. After that, the story of Israel was an earnest seeking for the righteousness of the law.
After that, the story of Israel was an earnest seeking for the righteousness of the law.
The Jewish people carefully studied the prophecies of the coming Messiah, and they expected that the time of his coming was upon them. Many groups emerged within Judaism, all of them zealous for the law.
The sect of the Pharisees taught that if even one man in Israel were to perfectly keep the law of God, then the Messiah would come. Each of them strove to be that man. They even developed their own “oral” laws.
If ever there were a people who could have obtained righteousness through human works, it was the Jews in the time of Christ. Yet they failed to obtain it. There is absolutely no salvation through the law.
Have you ever been tempted toward strict law-keeping? What was your motivation? Were you trying to be righteous?