We cannot earn righteousness by our own works. We can only freely receive righteousness by believing and trusting in the Work of Jesus Christ. In his letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul compares the faith of the Gentiles – who have received righteousness by faith and belief in God through Jesus – with the works of Israel – who have tried to obtain their own righteousness without God. Paul says that those who believe in and accept what Jesus has done to fulfill the Law are the ones who receive God’s righteousness for themselves. By upholding Jesus as the only One Who is righteous, they are given His righteousness to have for themselves. People of Israel, however, have tried to obtain their own righteousness, and have not accepted the Work that Jesus already did. They fail to see that Jesus demonstrated His righteousness by fulfilling all that the Law required of all people. They try to earn their own righteousness. Jesus the Cornerstone of faith, the only Righteous One, then becomes to them a stumbling block for these people who do not believe and trust in Him.
-Paul says that the Israelites who tried to earn righteousness did not achieve their goal. Why were they not able to achieve righteousness?
– What is the difference between “pursuing righteousness” and “obtain[ing]” it by faith? How do we obtain the righteousness we need from God?