Thursday in the Eighteenth Week of Ordinary Time

Romans 11:1-10

There Is Always a Remnant

So here in chapter eleven where Paul wraps up this issue concerning Israel’s rejection of the gospel—the gospel which was sent to them—he explains a theme that one finds throughout Scripture.  He begins by asking, “Has God rejected His people,” meaning the Jews?  He answers again with, μη γενοιτο, “Let it not be,” or “By no means” (ESV).  And how does Paul know this?  Well for starters, because Paul, a Jew if there ever was one according to the flesh, is a Christian himself.  Moreover, he recounts the story of Elijah who foolishly complained to God that he was the only prophet left in all the land (1 Kings 19).  And how does God answer Elijah? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”  And herein lies the answer to the matter concerning Israel’s rejection of the gospel: Not all have rejected; most to be sure, but not all.  Paul writes: “So too at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.”

It is this matter of the remnant, which runs throughout Scripture, a remnant out of the whole, chosen by God’s grace, which answers the question, “Who are God’s people?”  God’s people are not a whole nation, not all of someone’s descendants, and not even an entire church.  God’s people are always a part of a whole—a remnant—out of the entire group: Not Cain’s descendants but Seth’s, not the whole earth but Noah, not Nahor or Haran but Abraham, not Ishmael but Isaac, not Esau but Jacob, not the Egyptians but the Israelites, not Saul but David, not Israel but Judah, not all of Judah but those who return—a remnant that only gets smaller and smaller until there is really only one left—Jesus Christ.  Now the good news is that from that one man, the remnant has grown since his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2).  But it is still, even to this day, a remnant.  And God’s people ever shall be a remnant, a part out of the whole, chosen by grace, chosen by God.

And this is Paul’s answer to the conundrum concerning Israel: God hasn’t rejected Israel.  As it has always been, some of Israel have believed, some haven’t and have even been hardened as a result.  But in the passage which we will take up the day after tomorrow, Paul will show how even this hardening reveals a glorious divine plan of salvation for all Israel.

We cannot understand God’s mysteries.  Even that which He has revealed is above our heads.  No one knows His mind or is His counselor.  We must learn to say: “To Him be glory forever.  Amen.”

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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