|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:30-33 The Gentiles knew not their guilt and misery, therefore were not careful to procure a remedy. Yet they attained to righteousness by faith. Not by becoming proselytes to the Jewish religion, and submitting to the ceremonial law; but by embracing Christ, and believing in him, and submitting to the gospel. The Jews talked much of justification and holiness, and seemed very ambitious to be the favourites of God. They sought, but not in the right way, not in the humbling way, not in the appointed way. Not by faith, not by embracing Christ, depending upon Christ, and submitting to the gospel. They expected justification by observing the precepts and ceremonies of the law of Moses. The unbelieving Jews had a fair offer of righteousness, life, and salvation, made them upon gospel terms, which they did not like, and would not accept. Have we sought to know how we may be justified before God, seeking that blessing in the way here pointed out, by faith in Christ, as the Lord our Righteousness? Then we shall not be ashamed in that awful day, when all refuges of lies shall be swept away, and the Divine wrath shall overflow every hiding-place but that which God hath prepared in his own Son.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness,.... The Israelites, the far greater part of the Jews, who were not called by the grace of God, were all very zealous of the law, called "the law of righteousness"; because the matter of it was righteous, it was so in its own nature; and because perfect obedience to it is righteousness; as also because they sought for righteousness by the deeds of it. They very violently and eagerly pursued after it, they tugged and toiled, and laboured with all their might, as persons in running a race, to get up to the law, and the righteousness of it; and yet Israel, with all the pains and labour taken,
hath not attained to the law of righteousness: some of them fancied they had, supposing an external conformity to it, to be all that it insisted upon; not knowing the spirituality of it, that it required truth and holiness in the inward parts; and that he that offended in one point of it, was guilty of all, and therefore could not be justified by it.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
31. But Israel, which followed—"following"
after the law of righteousness, hath not attained—"attained not"
unto the law of righteousness—The word "law" is used here, we think, in the same sense as in Ro 7:23, to denote "a principle of action"; that is, "Israel, though sincerely and steadily aiming at acceptance with God, nevertheless missed it."
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