There is a Remnant by God’s Grace
Romans 10:21-11:10 (Pastor Heo)
21 But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”
The Remnant of Israel
1 I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me” ? 4 And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. 7 What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened, 8 as it is written: “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that could not see and ears that could not hear, to this very day.” 9 And David says: “May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them. 10 May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever.”
Chp 11 = God’s faithfulness
Chp 10:21 “But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”
Their hearts were hard, we can see 3 results of their rejection:
1. Still today, they are guilty
(we also will be guilty if we reject God’s free gift of salvation) – God reveals himself in nature, Creation, the Word of God – these go together and reveal the glory of God. Israel had the benefit of BOTH – they saw God at work in Nature, and received the Word of God (but they did not heed the Word of God). No wonder many times in Scripture it says, “he who has ears, let him hear” – this is repeated at least 7 times in Revelation.
2. God sent this gospel to the Gentiles
When Israel rejected this Messiah, God sent this gospel to the Gentiles that they might be saved. One reason was to provoke Israel to “holy jealousy”.
3. Still today, God yearns over his people
v. 21 is from Isaiah 55:2
This refers to the present day of salvation (1 Cor “NOW is the day of God’s favor”).
Even 2000 years ago, Christ longed to gather his chosen people to his arms. He wept over Jerusalem. But instead, those arms were stretched out on a cross.
Today, Christ is stretching his hands out, waiting, “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” – this is the message of the gospel for the Jews and the Gentiles.
Last Sunday, “how beautiful the feet of those who bring good news.”
Also, God can use our feet and arms as he used Paul’s 2000 years ago.
Everything is of God (behind everything) – and at the same time everything is of man (we have free will). 100% God-control & sovereignty & at the same time 100% human free-will (this is a paradox).
Are you a person? This means you have a personality.
So, we are responsible/accountable before Christ. But he will NEVER give up his people. This is the story of the next chapter.
Actually, Paul devotes all of Romans 11 to presenting that God is not finished yet with Israel. He is discussing a literal future for the nation of Israel. And Paul is showing 5 proofs (witnesses) that God has a plan for Israel. Today, let’s look at just the first 2.
God’s future restoration plan for Israel is also very important for us.
God called Abraham, chose Israel, Jesus came from Israel. IF God abandoned them… then that would show that our salvation could also be lost in the same way. Thus, their future restoration is SO important for our own salvation.
Next Sunday, we will look in depth at: (the conclusion)
- v. 26 “26 and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.”
There are a total of 5 witnesses to this. Today, we’ll see 2:
2 (of 5) Witnesses of God’s Plan for Israel
#1 Paul himself
Paul who wrote this book Romans.
v. 1 “1 I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.”
Honestly speaking, I have no right to say, “Korea will be saved – because I am Korean!” Nobody has a right to say this. But Paul is saying like this. How is this possible? On what foundation/grounds?
What is the difference between his and our salvation? We must know the background.
Paul’s conversion testimony is written in the Bible in Acts, 3 times (chp 9, 22, 26) – this is not by accident – but on purpose for something to show us.
This is not written to exalt Paul himself, but it is written to show his conversion is an illustration of the future restoration and conversion of the nation Israel. This is a secret, the mystery of God.
Yes, before his conversion, Paul had such great zeal for God. “I’m faultless – legalistically speaking.” Before his conversion, he was a champion of persecuting the followers of Christ – because he persecuted Christ for God. (He fought God, on behalf of God) – because he didn’t know Jesus was God, the Messiah, the Savior of the world. He was so zealous for God, but it was misplaced. This was not based on the correct foundation of the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
One day, on the way to Damascus, breathing out murderous threats. Christ appeared to him on the road and spoke, “Saul, why do you persecute me?” At this moment, he became blind, fell to the ground, and called out. “Lord, who are you?” “I’m Jesus, who you are persecuting. Get up, go into the city and you will be told what you must do.” After this experience, his life was 100% (180deg) changed and he became the champion of the gospel.
- From persecutor of the gospel to the champion of the gospel.
- From destroying the followers of Christ, to making new followers of Christ.
Israel, likewise, has been zealous for God – looking and waiting for the Messiah for a LONG time. This was their final hope. But, when he came, they did not recognize him. Still now, they are waiting for the Messiah.
Someday (maybe soon) there will be a day when Israel will recognize that same Jesus their forefathers crucified in 33 AD. And at that time, they will be totally 100% (180deg) changed. Their lives, lifestyles, etc will be transformed completely, and they will play a great role in closing human history with Jesus’ Second Coming.
Basic Question: Up to now, in your life, which event is the GREATEST event? Having the most POWERFUL impact on your personal life?
Ans: Conversion – salvation to Jesus Christ.
To be converted to Christ and NOT change your lifestyle is absolutely impossible.
That’s why Paul says what he does in v. 1.
v. 2-10 “2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me” ? 4 And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. 7 What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened, 8 as it is written: “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that could not see and ears that could not hear, to this very day.” 9 And David says: “May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them. 10 May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever.””
Two keywords here: Elijah & remnant
We know the background of this story. Elijah was one of the greatest OT prophets. He had many nicknames:
- Man of Fire, Man of Miracle, Man of Prayer, Man of Power.
He raised a dead boy through prayer. When he prayed, there was no rain for 3 years – then prayed and received heavy rain. He alone defeated 450 prophets of Baal + 450 prophets of Asherah. He was a man of prayer, power.
He worked during the time of Ahab, 850 BC.
At that time, Israel was divided in two (north and south) – like Korea (because of the sins of Solomon).
- South = Judah
- North = Israel
This is the story of the Northern king during the reign of the 7th (of 19) king, Ahab (among all 19, not a one was “good” in the eyes of God). But Ahab was just… THE WORST.
During his reign, Israel was full of idol worship.
So, this guy was “bad” but his lady (Jezebel) was “really bad.” (much worse than him). Do you know the story of Nabath?
There was a vineyard near Ahab’s palace, so he coveted it – he wanted to buy it – even for a better vineyard. “No, God forbid, this is inheritance from my father.” So, he got sulky and didn’t eat. His wife said, “Honey, why aren’t you eating?… What? Are you the ‘king’? Get up and eat – I will get that vineyard for you.” That very day, she “got” the vineyard through murder. She said to her husband, “Oh, look, he’s dead. Now, you can get it.”
Later, Jezebel said to Elijah, “Hey, boy, I’ll kill you.”
- So, he ran off and hid and shook in fear and said to God, “Please God, kill me.”
- But God said, “No, and you don’t try it either.”
- God did not scold him, but encouraged him with a soft whisper, “Elijah, you still have a mission.”
- Elijah appealed it. “God, Israel rejected your covenant, killed your prophets, and I’m the ONLY ONE left, and they are all trying to kill me.”
- God said, “No, no, no. You’re not the only one. I’ve yet reserved 7,000 who do not kneel before Baal. This is my remnant.”
Immediately he got 3 missions.
- To anoint 2 kings, and
- anoint Elisha to succeed himself as prophet.
He received power and encouragement again, and fulfilled his mission and was caught up in a chariot of fire afterward and did not taste death.
Yes, even today, Israel is rejecting the Messiah, Jesus.
But, there is a remnant in Israel who is faithful to God, by the grace of God.
I’m sure, even in North Korea, there is a remnant, even in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, USA, Europe, every single local church, even in AICF. A few remnants may be among us – but many (even all) of us may be remnants before God.
I hope and pray we all are a remnant and faithful before God.
“He who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
Only the remnant who remains faithful to God will be saved.
Who is the remnant? The one who calls on the name of the Lord.
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
If you call Jesus “Lord” – this means he is Lord in EVERY area of our lives. He is Lord of our time, concern, interest, motive, purpose, priority, incentive, hobbies, job, ambition, dream, vision, money, wallet, material possessions. This is the true meaning of “Jesus is Lord.” God bless us to call Jesus our Lord, truly.
God is not deceived, not mocked. God knows if we are truthful in our proclamation. God knows if you are speaking from your heart, or just paying him “lip service.”
Jesus is Lord of every area of our lives.
God bless all of us so that our calling Jesus, “Lord” may be accepted fully by God our father.
Let’s take individual time to pray and shout and cry, “Lord, may my cry be acceptable to you.”