Summary: Paul gave 3 examples to show that God has not rejected Israel - his conversion, Elijah's experience and the remnant who believes. God hardens the hearts of unbelievers because they have chosen to harden their own hearts.
Romans 11:1-10 Chosen By Grace
When a relationship breaks up, we have questions. Questions like: What’s the problem? Who caused it? How did it happen?
• These are the questions Paul has been addressing in Rom 9-11 regarding Israel’s relationship with God, their unbelief and rejection of the Messiah.
• Did God choose Israel wrongly? Has God’s plan failed with Israel’s unbelief? Will God reject Israel for their failure? Who is at fault here?
Paul assures his readers, both the Jewish and Gentile audiences – that God’s salvation plan for a lost world remains intact. And God is not finished with His chosen people yet.
• He has not gone back on His promise to Israel. He has extended mercy and will continue to extend mercy to them.
• God has been sovereignly at work to save the elect – the remnant of Israel and the believing Gentiles. All who put their trust in Jesus, the Son of God will be saved.
Let continue from where we left off last week. We are reading Romans 11:1-10 today.
1I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. 2God 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.” [1 Kings 19:10] 4But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” [1 Kings 19:18] 5So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. 6But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.
Has God rejected Israel for their failure to trust Him? The answer is emphatically NO! God did not reject His people.
• Look at the line before - 10:21 “But concerning Israel He says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people”, a quote from Isaiah 65:2.
• God’s hands have been outstretched! Towards? A disobedient and obstinate people.
• The Lord said it Himself – they were disobedient and stubborn, but despite that, His hands were held out towards them.
• Get the picture right. Who is being rejected here? Israel? No, God! Israel has been rejecting God, not the other way around!
We can speak from experience here – it is not God rejecting us but we are rejecting God. We dump God, we have chosen to walk our own ways, we do not want Him.
• If we are quick to question God and ask why are some people not elected, with a slant towards blaming Him… Then we are truly mistaken.
• That’s not the biblical and correct picture of God. He is not the deserter; we are. He is not the unfaithful one, we are. We rejected God.
Israel has not been rejected. God is NOT done with Israel yet.
• He will save a remnant in Israel (we read that and we are going to read it again here), and…
• He will yet save Israel again in the END TIMES, in the future, which we are going to read about at end of Romans 11 in 2 weeks.
Paul gave 3 examples. Example #1 himself. “Look at me, I am saved!”
• 11:1b “…For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin.”
• Those who knew his past would understand better. He was a blasphemer, a persecutor, an enemy of God, and the Lord saved him!
• It’s interesting to see how Jesus confronted him: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” (Acts 22:7). Paul asked, “Who are you?” And the Lord replied, “I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.” Jesus rubbed it in and said it twice.
God did not reject the persecutor. He called him and chose him to be saved.
• 11:2 “2God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew.” He planned to save us.
• We have already established this earlier – our salvation is not an afterthought, not random, not by chance, and not accidental.
• God has a purpose in election. And it has nothing to do with us. It is not because of our good works or behaviours. Surely not our righteousness.
Example #2 – Elijah’s experience.
11:2 “…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.” [1 Kings 19:10] 4But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” [1 Kings 19:18]