Romans 9:30-32 (HCSB)

 What should we say then? Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained righteousness — namely the righteousness that comes from faith. But Israel, pursuing the law for righteousness, has not achieved the righteousness of the law. Why is that? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone.

The HCSB reads more clearly to me here than the ESV.  It seems simple to understand that the Gentiles, who were not even pursuing righteousness like the Jews were, received righteousness through faith.  Conversely, the Jews who were pursuing the law for righteousness had not and could not achieve the righteousness of the law. They made the crucial error of pursuing righteousness by works and not by faith.  As Paul puts it: They stumbled over the stumbling stone.

We are graced in that the law is not such a stumbling stone for we Gentiles as it was for the Jews.  We are tripped up rather by our pride that won’t allow us to come to Christ as “a poor sinner trusting Christ alone for salvation” as Robert E. Lee so eloquently out it.