Rom 11:5-8 #20, A Remnant According to the Election of Grace 03/13/2016

 

 

 

 

#1. If By Grace, It Cannot Be By Works (Eph 1:4-5, Rom 11:6, 4:4-5)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2. The Election Has Obtained It (Rom 11:7, 3:9, 9:31-33, 9:18, Luke 3:8)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3. Through Their Fall Salvation Has Come (Rom 11:11, Mark 4:11-12)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we sang this Hymn #398, did you hear what a wild ride we have had in the church through time? By schisms rent asunder, by heresies distressed. Mid toil and tribulation and tumult of her war. That sounds like a great deal of troubles. And would you know, these troubles are still in front of us. Our warfare continues until the last day has come. Please open your Bibles to the Prophecy of Isaiah 52:7 (2X). We are continuing in the series called "The Wisdom of God" (2X). Last week we looked at the element of "Saving Faith", as it is found in Rom 10:17. Now, let me ask you a question: What is Saving Faith? After having listened to a 50-minute sermon I am sure you know the answer to that question, don't you? Well, let me give it to you again from John 6:44, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him". That is the evidence of Saving Faith. Saving Faith is a gift from God that manifests itself in the act of coming to Christ, the Good Shepherd. Faith leads to action, the action of coming to Christ, and obeying Christ, and trusting what He has said, and doing all that out of pure pleasure. That is why "faith without works is dead". Who will receive this faith? That is the subject matter of today's sermon, which is titled "A Remnant According to the Election of Grace". This is sermon #20 in this series, and let us tie this in with last week's sermon. Last week's sermon was centered on Rom 10; today we will focus on the first part of Rom 11. Last week we saw that Rom 10:15 was a quote from Isa 52:7; and that is why I had you turn to Isa 52:7.

Isa 52:7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

Who is saying what to whom? From the context of Isa 52, and from the context of Rom 10:15 we know that it is the evangelists who are saying to Zion: "Peace to you, for your God Jehovah reigns, and He has good tidings for all those in Zion". Does this promise only apply to those who are dwelling in the earthly city of Jerusalem? Of course not! The Bible was written for all people and for all times. Moreover, in the NT age God has not been very complimentary to the earthly city of Jerusalem. God says in Gal 4:25, "Jerusalem which now is, is in bondage with her children". Please turn to the Epistle to the Romans 11:1 (2X). When the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross at Golgotha God divorced Himself from the earthly temple in Jerusalem, and from the earthly city of Jerusalem, and from the earthly nation of Judah, and from the earthly nation of Israel. In their place God has chosen to be the Savior of a people drawn from all nations, and tribes, and tongues, and peoples of the world. This is the "Remnant According to the Election of Grace". Does God have any more promises to the apostate nation of Israel? Absolutely not! As a nation they are in rebellion against God, and thus they are under the wrath of God. Only those who are the children of God inherit His promises. Rom 11:1,

Ro 11:1 I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

In other words, "God has not cast away the entire nation of Israel for I, Paul, also am an Israelite, and I am a child of God. From the nation of Israel God also has a Remnant chosen by grace".

Ro 11:2 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,

Ro 11:3 Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.

Ro 11:4 But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.

Ro 11:5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

At the time of Elijah, about 900 years BC, the Northern kingdom of Israel had gone apostate under the leadership of their wicked king Ahab and his wife Jezebel. Out of a population of perhaps 2 million God says "I have reserved to Myself 7000 who have not bowed the knee to Baal", that is less than a percent of that population. Who is taking the initiative? God does that. God reserved the Remnant chosen by grace. Then, about 150 years later, when the kingdom of Assyria destroyed the Northern kingdom of Israel, and the people in the Southern kingdom of Judah were called Israel, God again spoke through the prophet Isaiah, and we can read it in Rom 9:27, please turn the page to Rom 9:27,

Ro 9:27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:

In other words, "Even though the number of the children of Jacob would be as numerous as the sand of the sea, only a remnant thereof shall be saved". Only a remnant found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Only a remnant could be identified with Zion, the place where God resides. Can you now answer the question: "Who is Zion?" Zion is the Remnant chosen by grace, for whom the Lord Jesus Christ suffered and died on the cross. And even today the definition of Zion still holds, "It is the place where God resides". God chose to reside in the hearts and souls of those whom He named to be His elect children, and since that choice could not depend in any way on what we would do, or of what bloodline we are, God made that choice independent from us from before the foundation of the world.

#1. If By Grace, It Cannot Be By Works (Eph 1:4-5, Rom 11:6, 4:4-5)

Hold one finger here in Rom 11, and please turn about 55 pages to your right () to the Epistle to the Ephesians 1:4 (2X). Here in Eph chapter 1 God speaks about the Remnant chosen by grace. And God said that He has not chosen us because of certain character traits we have, or because of something that we have done, or something we might do in the future, but God chose us "according to the good pleasure of His will". We read in Eph 1:4-5,

Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Eph 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according

to the good pleasure of his will,

Here is the Remnant chosen by grace, the people He chose according to the good pleasure of His will. Before the foundation of the world and before God created the first speck of dust in this universe, God foreordained whom He was going to create. God made the decision whom to love and to save by sending the Lord Jesus Christ to the cross, and God also made the decision whom to pass by when Christ died on the cross. The chosen ones and the rejected ones; the Elect and the Reprobate. God was very well aware of all rejected ones who would come into the world as rebels against God, and would die as rebels against God. God created them, for His purposes. We do not have to pry into all the reasons why God created them. We must leave that in God's hands. It is sufficient to say that God created them, in His wisdom. God considered it necessary that He create both the Elect and the Reprobate. But God chose on whom He would bestow His grace. Please turn back to Rom 11:6 (2X).

Ro 11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

What is grace? Grace is a gift from God unto salvation. Grace is a gift that we do not deserve. Grace is unmerited favor. Can you merit unmerited favor? Of course not! Therefore, God rubs it in: "if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace". If salvation is by grace, in other words: If salvation is a free gift from God, then there cannot be any works that are required. Otherwise, if you do require some kind of work, then your definition of grace is no longer God's definition of grace. For example, some churches require that you must subject yourself to water baptism, or else you cannot be saved. Roman Catholics, and Mormons, and United Church of Christ require this procedure. This is a requirement that you DO something, and thus their grace is no more grace. It is a false gospel. Some churches require that you must accept the Lord Jesus as your Lord and Savior, or else you cannot be saved. Many Baptists require this, and this again is a requirement that you DO something, and thus their grace is no more grace. It is a false gospel. Some churches require that you come forward publicly and rededicate your life to the Lord, or else you cannot be saved. This again is a requirement that you DO something, and thus their grace is no more grace. It is a false gospel. Some churches require that you speak in tongues, or else you cannot be saved. This again is a requirement that you DO something, and thus their grace is no more grace. It is a false gospel. More recently there is a teaching that comes to us through the radio that you must depart out of your church, or else you cannot be saved. This again is a requirement that you DO something, and thus their grace is no more grace. It is a false gospel. Please turn a few pages to your left, to Rom 4:4 (2X). God speaks here not in terms of grace and works, but of faith and works. If we understand that Saving Faith is not a work but is a gift from God, then we have no trouble identifying true faith with grace. Truly God saves by grace, but in order to manifest His grace in our lives God gives us faith, so that we can know what He has done. God says here in Rom 4:4-5,

Ro 4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

Ro 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Anyone who holds a gospel where he must DO something is one who works for his salvation, and that means his salvation is counted not by grace but by debt. But him who does not work but believes on Christ who justifies the ungodly by the cross, his faith is counted for righteousness, because his faith is a gift from God. All those who have a Saving Faith believe all the facts surrounding Christ crucified. What about those whose salvation is counted by debt? God says:

Let us look at the second half of Rom 11:6,

Ro 11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

In other words, if your gospel is one whereby you require that something must be done by man, then your salvation is by works, and then it is no more by grace. Can we find one person in the whole world who lived such a good life and who obeyed all the commandments from God, so that he has no sin? If that were true, then Christ would not have come to suffer and die on a cross, because God would hold up this person as the example to follow, and God would say: "If he can do it, so can you. What is your excuse?" But the fact is that "there is NONE righteous, NO, NOT ONE". Please hold one finger here in Rom 11 and turn about 50 pages to your right () to the Epistle to the Galatians 3:10 (2X). From what we have read in Rom 11:6 it is clear that we may never ever mix grace with works; not in our Justification or in our Sanctification. Both our Justification as well as our Sanctification are gifts from God by His grace, purchased by Christ on the cross. We read here in Gal 3:10,

Ga 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

All those who have a works gospel are under a curse; not "the" curse, because the definite article is missing in the Greek text. What is the curse they are under? "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them". Every single law of the entire OT ceremonial law would have to be obeyed, and add to this all the other laws that are in the Bible, both in the OT as well as in the NT. What God requires is absolute perfection, and if we missed only one commandment from the Bible, we have violated them all. The Lord Jesus said in Matt 5:48, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect". What is God showing hereby? God shows this in the next verse, Gal 3:11, where He says:

Ga 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

Again, faith has been substituted for grace, "for by grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not

of yourselves, it is the gift of God" (Eph 2:8). No man is called just in the sight of God based on his obedience to the law, or based on any good work he has done. "For, the Just shall live by faith". Those who are just in the sight of God shall live forever in the presence of God. They are just, in the sight of God because they have the faith, which they received from God as a sign that they have been saved by Christ. Do you want to be saved by doing good works, or by any good behavior on your part? God says that it cannot be done. God makes this abundantly clear in verse 21. Please drop down to verse 21, and there we read,

Ga 3:21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.

In other words, if it would be possible for God to give a law such that obedience to that law would have given salvation, then that would have been the route God would have chosen to bring salvation among mankind, and then Christ would not have to come and be crucified on the cross. But that is not possible. God indicates hereby, in Gal 3:21, that the gospel of Christ crucified, is the only way to salvation. There is no other way for mankind to be saved. Please turn again to Rom 11:7 (2X),

#2. The Election Has Obtained It (Rom 11:7, 3:9, 9:31-33, 9:18, Luke 3:8)

Verses 5 and 6 state unambiguously: "There is A Remnant According to the Election of Grace" In fact, this is the theme throughout the entire chapter of Rom 11. And God says in Rom 11:7,

Ro 11:7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.

The nation of Israel has not discovered what the true Gospel is. Have they been told? O yes! Why did they not believe it? They were so close. To them were committed the oracles of God. They had the Gospel in front of their noses, but they did not like a Gospel of grace. They wanted a Gospel of works. They wanted to go to heaven because they earned it by following the law, and because they were entitled to it for being sons of Abraham. Did not God make these promises to Abraham and his seed? And so, you see, they misinterpreted God's words to fit their own image of who God is. But let us be fair. Today most churches have also adopted a works gospel. Most churches do not abide by the Bible alone. And most churches do not cover the whole counsel of God; instead they pick and choose what they like, and what they don't like they skip. How can they justify their beliefs? You see, they also misinterpreted God's words to fit their own image of who God is. God says in Rom 11:7, "the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded". Only the elect of God believed the whole Bible, and the rest were blinded (2X). You see, this is the danger of fitting the words from God into our own image of who God is. It causes people to be so deep into error that it becomes heresy, so that there is no more salvation in that kind of a gospel. But what can we say about our own church? How can we know that we are on the right track? How can we know that what is preached from this pulpit is true? You can only know it if you check me out. Only then can you be sure. In fact, you have an obligation to check out what I am preaching, and that is why you have that sheet of paper in your Bulletin that is mostly blank; it is for taking notes during the sermon. And since we believed the Gospel of grace, can we say that we are better than the "freewill" churches, or are we better than the Jews who believe in an outright works gospel? God answered this question in Rom 3:9,

Ro 3:9 What then? Are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; (This was proved in Rom chapters 1, 2, and 3.)

We all were born as enemies of God, and at one time "we all were by nature the children of wrath, even as others". We all leaned toward works gospels, because they gave us such a good self-image. It is only by the grace of God that He drew us out of those "do-it-yourself salvation plans". We cannot take any credit for seeing the sovereignty of God in the Bible. We cannot take any credit for seeing the mercy of God in the cross of Christ. But now we can also see why the nation of Israel chose the path they are on, to their own damnation. Please turn the page to Rom 9:31 (2X). There we read,

Ro 9:31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.

Ro 9:32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone;

So, this was the error on Israel's part. "They stumbled at that Stumbling stone", which is Christ crucified. They did not need anyone to atone for their sins, because they believed, and still believe, that they will go straight to heaven because they are the seed of Abraham. They were reminded of this error already beginning with the preaching of John the Baptist, who said in Luke 3:8,

Lu 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

And where was this Stumbling stone? The next verse in Rom 9 tells us that. We read in Rom 9:33,

Ro 9:33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumbling stone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Where? In Sion. There is that word again, Zion! Was the Lord Jesus Christ crucified in Jerusalem? NO! He was crucified outside the city of Jerusalem. And when the Lord Jesus Christ died the veil in the temple was torn from the top to the bottom, and the Holy of Holies was laid bare. From that moment on the earthly temple was no longer the temple of God, and the earthly city of Jerusalem was no longer Zion, the place where God resides. From that moment on God dwells in temples not made by hands. From that moment on God dwells in spiritual temples, either in souls in heaven, or in the souls of those who are His elect children here on earth. There, in that spiritual Sion, is where God laid the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, but there is where He became a Stone of stumbling and a Rock of offense to most of the Jews. The Jews relied on things that are tangible, things that they could see, and touch, and perform a ceremony with. Most of them had no faith in something spiritual. But a small remnant of them believed. How is it that they believed? God explains it all in Rom 9:18,

Ro 9:18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

How long will the majority of Jews remain in unbelief? Please turn to Rom 11:8 (2X). God says:

Ro 11:8 (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.

Ro 11:9 And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumbling block, and a recompence unto them:

Ro 11:10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.

Until when? Unto this day! They remain blinded until this day, all the way until the Last Day has arrived. There would not be a day when as a nation they turn to Christ, because unto this day would not apply any more and then the Bible would contain a lie. But God cannot lie. And so we should expect the nation of Israel to remain in unbelief until the end of time. "Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumbling block, and a recompense unto them". This refers to the "Table of shewbread", which was again pointing to the ceremonial law. Likewise the next verse "bow down their back alway" refers to work, work, work for their salvation. This was the character of their religious beliefs. They were blinded. But who blinded them? Verse 8 says: "God blinded them". Indeed God backed up this fact in Isa 6:9-10, where God says to the prophet Isaiah:

Isa 6:9 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.

Isa 6:10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

There are many places in the Bible where God says, He is responsible for blinding the Reprobate in their unbelief. But there are a few verses that say, Satan blinds the Reprobate in their unbelief. For example, God says in 2Cor 4:4,

2Co 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

These verses do not contradict each other. This is how God wrote the Bible. God wrote the Bible in such a way that the Reprobate will fail to understand and discover only confusing statements. But we understand that Satan is not an independent agent. Satan cannot do anything without God's approval. And so, we see that Satan is doing a dirty work that fits entirely into God's plan. In His wisdom God decided that this work of blinding the Reprobate needs to be done, and Satan is doing it for Him. But look at the results:

#3. Through Their Fall Salvation Has Come (Rom 11:11, Mark 4:11-12)

Ro 11:11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

Have they stumbled because they were destined to stumble? Let it not be. God is not the author of sin. But rather, through their unbelief, by causing Christ to be nailed to the cross, salvation has been made possible. Moreover, since salvation has now come to a remnant of the Gentiles the Jews were provoked to jealousy. To them were committed the oracles of God, and they did not like it that Gentiles were made partakers of blessings from God. There are here two issues in verse 11. Firstly, the majority of the nation of Israel remained in unbelief because God did not pour His grace on them. God did that only for a remnant. The Lord Jesus said to His disciples in Mark 4:11-12,

Mr 4:11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

Mr 4:12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.

Only a Remnant according to the election of grace received the gift of salvation, and the rest were hardened. But think of the wonderful consequences of this arrangement. Through their unbelief salvation has come to many of the Gentiles. God in His wisdom arranged it in this way so that salvation could come through the crucifixion of Christ.

Secondly, the majority of the nation of Israel remained in unbelief out of jealousy toward the Gentiles. They did not want to share anything good with the Gentile dogs. Let the Gentiles go to Hell.

Ro 11:12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?

Ro 11:13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:

Ro 11:14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation (jealousy) them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.

Ro 11:15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

God does not speak here of the receiving of all the Jews, but only of a remnant saved by grace. Those who remain in unbelief out of jealousy show by their actions that they are still serving Satan. To show us how evil envy is God wrote in Prov 27:4,

Pr 27:4 Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?

Envy and jealousy are stepping stones that lead to hatred. The Scribes and Pharisees of Jesus' days delivered Jesus to be crucified, out of envy. Pilate recognized that. We read in Matt 27:18,

Mt 27:18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.

How cruel is envy? The religious leaders of the Jews saw that Jesus was a more popular teacher than they were, and so they wanted Him killed. This is what envy leads up to: hatred and murder. Do people envy us? God says in Psalm 25:19,

Ps 25:19 Consider mine enemies; for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred.

We live in a nation that is the envy of many other nations in the world. That in itself would not be so bad. But within our nation there are many who envy us. Some of us are a little better off materially than others, and many unbelievers envy us for our material goods. Many are jealous of our position in the workplace. Others envy us for our peaceful lifestyle. And others even envy us for our knowledge of the Bible. This is absolutely amazing. I have experienced so much hatred from people who envied me it is unreal. What are we to do in such situations? We must become more and more like Christ. We must pray for these people, because this will relieve us from our anger toward them. And remember that if it were not for the grace of God we would be like them, full of envy, and ready to nail Christ to the cross. Praise God that He orchestrated the crucifixion of Christ and used the envy of the religious leaders of the Jews, so that God's mercy became available to us through the cross of Christ. Praise God that He anointed us to be His ambassadors through all the world, so that our children's children can hear the proclamation of the true Gospel, and be saved. Praise God that He has a remnant according to the election of grace.

In the words of the hymn-writer Isaac Watts we can say with confidence: "Thus saith the mercy of the Lord: "I will be a God to thee; I will bless thy numerous race, and they shall be a seed to Me". These are the words of the 1st stanza of hymn # 419 that we are going to sing in a few minutes.

AMEN. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.