"For not knowing the righteousness of God and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to the righteousness of God . . ." H. G. C. Moule writes:
They aspired to acceptance. God bade them submit to it. In their view, it was a matter of attainment; an ascent to a difficult height, where the climber might exult in his success. As He presented it, it was a matter of surrender, as when a patient, given over, places himself helpless in a master healer's hands, for a recovery which is to be due to those hands alone, and to be celebrated only to their praise.
--p. 267, italics orig., of his 1896 Romans commentary, handed down to me from my grandfather's library last year.