Day 2 Read: Romans 11:2-6
God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” 4 But what is God's reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.
Reflect: Why do you think Elijah’s experience was encouraging to Paul regarding Israel’s state of unbelief? (See 1 Kings 19) How do we see the principle of a “remnant chosen by grace” at work in Elijah’s situation?
Consider: Paul referred to this “remnant” in Romans 9:27, a quotation from Isaiah 10:22–23. At no time has the entire nation of Israel been true to the Lord. God makes a distinction between Abraham’s natural children and his spiritual children (Rom. 2:25–29). The fact that the Jews shared in the covenant by being circumcised did not guarantee their salvation. Like Abraham, they had to believe God in order to receive His righteousness (Rom. 4:1–5). Note that this remnant is saved by grace and not by works (Rom. 11:5–6). Note also the parallel in Romans 9:30–33. It is impossible to mix grace and works, for the one cancels the other. Israel’s main concern had always been in trying to please God with good works (Rom. 9:30–10:4). The nation refused to submit to Christ’s righteousness, just as religious, self-righteous people refuse to submit today.2
Respond: According to verse 6, God’s preservation of a faithful people does not depend on human works. Why is it reassuring to know that God’s preservation of His people does not depend on our works?
2 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 550.