1 I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel?
3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.”
4 But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. (ESV)
- The Context of this Matter
a. Romans chapter 11 is the last one in which Paul explains why the Jews rejected the Messiah, and what the consequences would be for Israel.
(i) Chapter 9 has to do with the sovereignty of God.
(ii) In chapter 10 Paul focusses on man’s responsibility to accept the Messiah.
(iii) In chapter 11 Paul focusses on the remnant among Jews and Gentiles whom God is preserving and that Israel is not beyond restoration.
b. There is already important teaching in Romans 11 on how we are to live – not only about the future or about eschatology. It is not irrelevant in terms of how to live our lives now. Learn from what God says in this chapter on how He deals with nations and with you.
The relevance of Romans 11:
(i) It reminds us of the importance of having a personal relationship with Christ, trusting only Him for salvation.
(ii) It teaches us the trustworthiness and faithfulness of God.
(iii) It shows a firm desire to reach the Jews with the Gospel.
(iv) It’s about the big picture – the eternal plan of God. A renewed vision of God’s plan is invigorating to the soul.
- The Conclusion of this Matter
God has not rejected His people, and He never will.
Paul gives four pieces of evidence for this confident assertion:
a. His autobiographical statement as a Jew and as a lost unbeliever. In spite of his blasphemy and persecution of the Church, God still saved him. So there is hope for any Jew everywhere.
God blessed his evangelism of the Jews.
b. A theological argument – he calls the Jews ‘God’s people whom He foreknew’, those whom God loved beforehand.
c. He brings in Biblical support – the OT passage of Elijah in which God responded that he was not the only one left in Israel, but that God was preserving 7000 who haven’t bow the knee to Baal.
d. An existential statement, referring to the remnant chosen by grace.
The doctrine of election and predestination must be a comfort to us, not a threat (see John 10).
If you have heard the Shepherd’s voice and are following Him, then you are one of the elect of God.