Set Aside; But Not Forgotten
Paul has now pointed out clearly Israel’s rejection of Jesus as Messiah. Israel is a very religious people, but lost as a nation. Is this not enough evidence to prove to us that the rejection of Jesus is also rejecting God and His righteousness. It should be enough.
In this portion of this study of chapter eleven we learn that God has not forsaken, or cast away Israel. Paul, an Israelite, is evidence of that, along with Peter, James, John, Matthew… They are part of the remnant to which Paul is referring.
CAN GOD BE TRUSTED TO FULFILL HIS WORD TO HIS PEOPLE (v. 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.“ Romans 11:1 (KJV).
‘Cast away’ – the meaning is to be cast out to never be blessed with God’s presence again. The idea is presented by some that God is finished with Israel for all time. That the only hope for Israel is to come into the Church, and of course that would be ideal. That is the purpose of Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection; however, the house of Israel rejected Jesus, but they will, one day look on Him whom they pierced.
‘I also am an Israelite’ – The fact of Paul’s presence in salvation through faith in Christ is promise to the Jewish people, that a remnant of them will be saved. Paul’s conversion is evidence that Israel is not forsaken. God still desires the whole Nation of Israel to trust His Son Jesus.
WHAT THE SCRIPTURES SAY OF ELIJAH (v. 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,…” Romans 11:2 (KJV).
Elijah was praying against the nation of Israel. He was grieved by their rejection of God and how they had turned to Baal (Read 1 Kings 19:10-18). Elijah following the victory on Mount Carmel ran for his life from the queen [Jezebel], and believed himself to be the only true follower of Jehovah. Even prophets can allow the flesh to intervene and ruin their lives, but God will set them straight; just as He did Elijah.
‘God has not cast away His people’ – There is not much clearer statement in all Scripture that God will fulfill His Word and save His people.
THERE ARE MANY WHOM GOD HAS RESERVED, AND KEPT AS WORSHIPPERS OF MESSIAH (vv. 3-4).
“Lord, they have killed Thy prophets, and digged down Thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. 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.” Romans 11:3-4 (KJV).
‘Killed Thy prophets…’ – It had been the order of queen Jezebel to kill the prophets of Jehovah, God of Israel, thus many of the men of God had died. There were also many who were hiding out in some of the caves. Obadiah a servant to king Ahab was a God-fearing man, knew the treachery of Jezebel – that she had killed many prophets – thus, he hid a hundred in two different caves and fed them (See 1 Kings 18:1-4).
‘Digged down Thine Altars’ – It was Jezebel’s intent to destroy the worship of Jehovah. She loved her pleasure, power and pomp. She was the one who ruled the throne of Israel – the Northern Kingdom. Everywhere there was an altar to Jehovah it was torn down, but she could not control the hearts of Elijah, nor the other prophets being hid, nor the 7,000 who had bowed their knee to Baal – Jezebel.
ACCORDING TO THE ELECTION OF GRACE (vv. 5-6).
“Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 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.” Romans 11:5-6 (KJV).
‘At this present time’ – During the days of Paul. Paul and the other Jews who had been saved are evidences of the grace of God.
‘There is a remnant’ – Just as God had a remnant who believed Him in Elijah’s day He had one for the days following the resurrection of Jesus, and He has a remnant for the return of Jesus. The remnant are “Children of the seed” or of ‘the Promise’(9:6-7). God’s children became God’s children by God’s promise. It was not by their own efforts. Is a baby born by his/her own choosing? NO! Is it born by God’s choice? YES! No one, who is physically born had a choice in the matter. It was determined by an act of the mother, the father and the sovereignty of God. The Scofield Study Bible defines “Remnant” as ‘A spiritual Israel within the national Israel” (p. 1205).
‘No more of works’ – We often say that we are saved by grace alone. Sometimes we say, or at least I do, that “We are saved by grace alone, plus nothing, minus nothing”. Since we are saved by “Grace alone” there can be no works which redeem us. If we are saved by grace, we are kept by grace, grow by grace, and appear before Jesus by grace.
‘No more grace’ – If we attribute any part of the saving work of Christ to our works, then, there is no more grace. Grace cancels out works, and/or works cancels out grace. The two are exclusive. You can be saved only by works alone, or by Grace alone. We are saved by grace alone. There is no other way of being right with God.
-Tim A. Blankenship