A Study of Romans 11:5
Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
Before we begin our study on the remnant, I would like to define a few terms in our text:
1) “remnant”: means a small group within a group. As we study this doctrine we will see it’s meaning in the scriptures. The scriptures teach that at any given time in history: there are very few people elect in comparison to the mass multitudes who are reprobate and will face eternal damnation.
2) “election of grace”: is the doctrine that God has a people He chose in Christ before creation (Ephesians 1:4), and Jesus came and died for their sins establishing righteousness for them only (Isaiah 53:11), and the Holy Spirit will come to each one of these elect with the true gospel and they will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ ALONE for ALL their salvation (John 6:37). It’s God’s election, and it’s all by His grace.
So our text Romans 11:5, “Even so at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace”: is teaching that at any time in history, there are few people saved, and the majority of mankind are unbelievers and under the wrath of God; and that this salvation is all of God’s grace in Christ.
The Lord was asked: “Lord, are there few that be saved?” (Luke 13:23). The Biblical answer is yes. It is true that the Bible teaches that the elect in heaven will be a number that no man can number:
“After this I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb (Christ), clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”
Praise God it is a great number; but in comparison to all who have lived in history, it is a remnant (a small group within the whole group). This is what we will now look at through scriptural history – because over a billion people on earth profess to be Christians; yet the Biblical teaching is that there is only a remnant of mankind that at any time in history is Christian.
We will begin with Noah’s time in history.
As Noah existed on the earth, the Bible teaches that the earth was full of people. Read for yourself in Genesis chapter 5 the generations of Adam. We read also in Genesis 6:1.
And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them.
When God brought Noah unto the earth it was populated with people. Noah was called: “a preacher of righteousness” (II Peter 2:5).
Noah preached the gospel to an earth full of sinners.
How many were elect?
Only 8 people were, inclucing Noah (I Peter 3:20). God saved only 8 in the ark out of mankind; the ark being a type of Christ.
Next we look at the time of Elijah the prophet: the time of the Kings: Elijah speaks:
Lord, they (Israel – the professing people of God in Elijah’s day) have killed thy prophets, and digging down thy altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.
But what sayeth 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.
In Elijah’s day the earth was full of people, yet how many were elect?
7,000 people. (The historical account of this is in I Kings 19;9-18).
Next: in the prophet Isaiah’s day. Read Isaiah chapter one. Here God is addressing those who professed the true religion – Israel of the Old Testament. God reveals in the first chapter of Isaiah that their worship of Him was false. Yet God had a remnant:
Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.
Now remember, during this time, God allowed all other nations of the earth to be without even the preaching of the gospel; it was confined to Israel. And in Israel there was only a “very small remnant”.
Israel was the center of the worship of God; yet even among them there was only a remnant:
“Esaias (Isaiah) also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved”.
(Romans 9:27; with the historical passage being Isaiah 10:20-23).
Go to the seashore, or see the seashore in your mind, and all the grains of sand on the beach; then hear God say only a remnant of them are my people. Now remember that God here is speaking of the religious Jews here – not the whole world. The rest of the world was left out of even the eternal preaching of the gospel.
We now will look at the time when Christ walked the earth. Christ said that among Christendom (those that profess Christ) there will be very few saved:
Enter ye in at the strait gate (salvation conditioned on Christ alone): for wide is the gate, and broad is the way (false religion within professing Christendom and all unbelievers), that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
Because stait is the gate (salvation conditioned on Christ ALONE), and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Within professing Christendom, many are lost and few are saved.
Many (compared to the remnant) who profess Christ will be damned.
The Lord Jesus said:
Not everyone that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but He that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me ye that work iniquity.
Many who profess Christ on the day of judgement will be damned.
Because they will plead their works as their righteousness before God, even giving God the credit (“in thy name”).
God tells us in the passage what the remnant will do: verse 21: “he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven”.
What is the Father’s will here?
“..This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him (Christ) whom He hath sent.”
The remnant will come to believe in Christ ALONE for ALL of salvation, apart from their works.
The Lord Jesus said:
For many are called, but few are chosen.
Many hear the true gospel, but out of that group, few (remnant) are chosen by God to believe it. Now Christ here is speaking of those who have heard the true gospel: salvation conditioned on Christ ALONE. He is not speaking of the rest of mankind, and the false gospels of so called Christendom.
Now we come to our day. The true gospel being preached in congregations is rare. There are few (remnant) gospel congregations. The majority of Christendom (those who profess Christ) do not even have the gospel. They believe in a gospel of works.
Roman Catholicism is not ashamed to openly teach salvation by Christ + works.
Arminianism is the prominent teaching in Christendom today: that Christ died for everyone, saving no one; and your salvation is actually based on your decision, an altar call, being baptized, “I let Jesus into my heart”; or whatever man dreams up. But this is all works of the sinner and not the gospel.
In our day, just like in every day in history, our text is true:
Even at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
All of the remnant will hear the true gospel, and repent (totally change their thinking and turn from their false god), and believe on Christ ALONE for ALL their salvation.
But there is only a remnant.
But God’s remnant will rejoice to hear the Savior say:
Fear not, little flock (the remnant elect): for it is the Father’s good pleasure to give (in the election of grace) you the kingdom (salvation).
By Craig Miklosik