Rom 11:1-4 “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. 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, 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.”
Paul was very concerned about the welfare of his fellow Israelites. Although they had a zeal of God, they did not understand what that zeal required of them. Instead of yielding themselves to the righteousness of faith through Jesus Christ, they were trying to establish their own righteousness through the law. They did not understand the Christ is the end of the law for righteousness.
Many of God’s children today still do not understand this wonderful truth. They go about every day determined to live in such a way as to be worthy of God’s love. That is an admirable ambition, but the simple truth is that it will not happen. Even if we lived perfect lives according to the law, we have not profited God or made ourselves worthy of Him.
There are those who believe that it is possible to be a child of God today and then do something so awful tomorrow that God will cast them away. Paul plainly says here that if we are held in the foreknowledge of God, that God will not reject us. That is not to say that He will not chasten us or that we will not lose sight of Him. He has told us that our sins hide His face from us (Isa. 59:2).
Notice that He did not say He would hide His face from us because of our sins. It is our sins that hide His face. When we attempt to walk in our own righteousness, it becomes a blindfold over our eyes. Yet, God has not changed nor has He forever rejected us.
Surely, if our actions could separate us from our eternal salvation, then what Paul describes here concerning Elias (Greek rendering of Elijah) would have caused utter rejection. Elijah stood before God and testified against a people who had murdered God’s prophets and destroyed His alters. We read this and often think about those who do not know God, when nothing could be further from the truth. The people who had done this were chosen of God, and Paul testifies that even after all this God has not cast away His people.
While we should take great comfort from this lesson, in no way should we think that it is ok for us to just do as we please. God visited His chosen people with famine, pestilence, sword, and captivity. This was not because He had rejected them but just the opposite. He did all this to draw them to rely on His righteousness.
We should also be encouraged by God’s wonderful provision for His kingdom here. In this world, it is easy to become discouraged and think there are only a handful left who love and serve God. We need to remember that He has always reserved to Himself a remnant who will serve and honor Him. He has always kept some to Himself who love the righteousness of God.
May we take courage in His promise to never leave us or forsake us!