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Paul explains that physical Israel (the nation) was not (is not) saved because the approach taken was not of God’s doing, but of their own (cf. 9:30-10:3). This fulfills the words of Jeremiah 10:23 when the Lord’s prophet declared that it is not in man that walks to properly direct his own steps in the direction of God. Paul then illustrates from Scripture how it was that Israel failed to understand. One can attain righteousness under the authority of the Law of Moses if God was near to one’s heart. God, however, was not near to the heart when there existed a willful failure of understanding. When God was near to one’s heart, the Law’s purpose was much clearer (1:16; cf. Deuteronomy 10:12-13). This spiritual approach brought one to Jesus. God’s preachers, even going back to the days of Isaiah, preached His good news of justification by faith (1:16). Yet many of those who heard did not obey because the word they heard was not mixed with faith (10:17; cf. Heb. 4:2). Thus, the problem was not God, and neither was it the message God’s preachers proclaimed. It was with those who heard and, in this case, it was the nation of Israel.  RT

 

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