“At the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace” (Romans 11:5).
In recent visits we’ve focused on God’s dealings with the Israelites and the Gentiles as seen in Romans chapter 11. Now let’s reflect on the fact that if we are honest with ourselves we would have to admit, God’s ways are hard for us to comprehend.
It’s as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:12, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
One thing that is clear and emphatically stated is that God’s way is the way of grace. In talking about the remnant among the Israelites Paul says in verses 5 and 6, “So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.”
He uses a different term in talking about the Gentiles in verses 22-24, “Consider therefore the kindness…of God…After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into the cultivated olive tree.” In other words, it is contrary to nature to take what we are – unworthy sinners – and bring us into the riches of belonging to God.
The Israelites thought that because they were the chosen people they must be okay. That’s why they thought, all we have to do is do our best and everything will turn out right. Not so, because, as we saw in the opening chapters of Romans, “All have sinned.” The Gentiles have enough light but they too have failed. Our key verse says, “For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.”
Never forget who you are – unworthy and unable to attain true righteousness. Also, never forget who you are in Christ – accepted in the beloved!