1. a. I say then, Hath God cast away His people. b. God forbid. c. For I also am an Israelite of the seed of Abraham of the tribe of Benjamin.
2. a. God hath not cast cast away His people which He foreknew. b. Wot ye not what the Scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel saying,
3. (1)Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and (2)digged down thy altars ; and (3)I am left alone, and they seek my life.
4. 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.
5. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
6. And if by grace, then is it no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works , then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
Observation vs 1-
a. If God should cast away the Chosen People utterly, then no one in the age of the church could have any assurance in their salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ, but because He does not cast away Israel utterly we can rest assured in the fact God keeps those who are His.
(1) God has promises yet to be fulfilled to Israel not a substitute for Israel.
b. The use of the term "God forbid." God will not do what is contrary to His own nature in this use of the term. There is a thing called the "divine counsels of God." God will not work other than according to His own divine counsels which are predetermined before the foundations of the world.
(1) In the injection of these two words we have the assurance of the consistency of God which gives certainty and assurance to our lives. Most people treat such expressions carelessly, but God puts them in with purpose. When we study God's Word and understand the importance of the words we become less prone to waiver in our own faith.
c. Paul uses himself as an example of the fact God has not abandoned His people.
(1) Though Paul does not elaborate upon his history at this point, I think he meant for his readers to pause and remember who and what he was and how he came to faith before proceeding in the epistle.
Observation vs 2-
a. God hath not cast away - He has established the point in verse 1 and drives it home as the main assertion of verse 2.
(1) The foreknowledge of God is in view here - God was not taken by surprise by anything, and the Bible says he chose Israel, so we know He did that with purpose. One of the many pieces of Scripture that teach the foreknowledge of God and His actions by His own divine counsels is Isaiah 46: 9-13:
9. Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me.
10. Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.
11. Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.
12. Hearken unto Me, ye stouthearted, that are far from righteousness:
13. I bring near My righteousness; it shall not be far off, and My salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my Glory.
b. Paul raises the issue of Elijah and the despair he felt when he thought he was all alone and prayed against Israel and the turning away from God as proof that God has not abandoned Israel.
Observation vs 3-
Verse 3 cites the specifics of the indictement. It is fourfold, the number of the world. This four part indictement is no accident because it serves to illustrate how far they have gone in the ways of the world.
(1) They have killed your prophets - How they have treated God's annointed:
Can be related to current attitudes toward faithful ministers today, while they are turned to fables by false ministers who gather large followings to deceive.
(2) The have digged down thy altars - How they have treated God's holy places.
Can be related to what is happening to churches four fold:
I. They are being robbed
II. They are being desecrated.
III. They are being burned.
IV. They are being assaulted by the IRS when preachers say things politically incorrect according to the IRS' interpretation.
Though there is evidence the IRS targeted some churches prior to the Clinton administration, during his time in office some churches which resisted his candidacy because he was known to be immoral were targeted.
The IRS has consistently refused to adopt a percentage amount for funds spent on what they see as political activity, according to a ten page report from the Rutherford Institute.
The Daily Oklahoman newspaper has alleged the IRS uses a double standard in targeting churches that favor a conservative over a liberal one where pulpits are regularly turned over to politicians.
The Cleveland Plains Dealer said, "By pursuing some apparent offenders of these rules, but not others, the IRS adds to a perception that begins with LBJ's partisan motives 45 years ago and is parlous close to reality today: a tilt in enforcement toward conservative organizations, religious and otherwise. If there are to be rules, they should be clear. If they are to be enforced they should be enforced consistently. But it is time to rethink whether there is any need for rules at all."
When the IRS went against Tex Marrs, Living Truth Ministries, the cited in their reasons such things as that the organization publishes the works of Texx Marrs and do not publish those of an outside organization. The other reasons for seeking to do him harm were equally shallow, but the real reason they were targeting him was the things he said about people in government and things going on in government. (Insight Magazine and Indianapolis Baptist Temple, The Trumpet)
(3) I am left alone and they seek my life -
The loneliness of Christian service.
The servant is not greater than the Master.
Observation vs 4-
The fact God always has a faithful remnant is introduced in this passage with God's response to Elijah.
The particular lesson to the believer today is that though sometimes they feel all alone in their stand for the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord has never been without a faithful remnant who stand for Him.
Note- History is replete with people who have thought that they were the only one who was standing for the truths of God. Failure to have a realistic view of this is often where condemnatory attitudes toward other Christians begin.
Observation vs 5- The correlation between what was and what is the case with Israel is made. God has his faithful remnant from Israel in those who are coming to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as there Savior.
(1) A number of television ministers that people follow believe that Jewish people have some other means of coming to salvation than through Jesus Christ (John Hagee and some of the TBN people.) but this Scripture makes it plain that salvation for Jew and Gentile alone is only by the "election of grace," which is only possible through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
(2) The prophecy that Israel would return to the land in unbelief concerning the Lord Jesus Christ was fulfilled when the State of Israel was founded on May 14, 1948, but even as the first Jews began to return at the end of the 19th century, a remnant of Jews who had not departed the land was to be found. Some of these were Christians and they are often ignored by those who write accounts of the founding of the State. In the Aliyahs (returns) of subsequent years Jews returning to Israel were coming back in unbelief:
Scripture that indicates a return in unbelief: Isaiah 11:11; Ezekiel 36:24-29
(3) Many Jews have continued to be closed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, though a remnant has been saved. In Israel this remnant has been treated as second class citizens and many Jews who have become Christians denied the opportunity to go and live in Israel.The following news just came out within the last two weeks:
KNESSET OFFERS CHRISTIANS NEW STANDING
Much of what this statement about is Jewish Christians who have been in the land of Israel doing good works but not treated as being fully Jewish.or good citizens of Israel. But it also impacts upon Gentile Christians who are pro-Israel because they have read their Bible and believe what it says.
There is also indications of a subsequent return of Jews to Israel in belief. Zechariah 10:8-12
Many people have thought that would not happen till the Millennial Kingdom was established but what we are seeing now in these types of news reports may indicate that day will happen before then.
There is a play on words that Paul makes to illustrate the old saying, "You can't have it both ways."
If salvation is by grace (Greek charis karis -the unmerited favor of God) it cannot be by works, not even the works of keeping the law. If there is some work that can be done for salvation grace is no more grace because you can earn salvation, and it is no more the unmerited favor of God, if it has a price that can be paid by any work. The Greek word (ergon) denotes the effort of work. If you can get saved by your work or effort. If any effort could suffice grace would be negated and if only grace is sufficient to salvation no amount of effort you can exert will ever be enough to save you.
To try to work your way to heaven is an insult to the Lord Jesus Christ who loved you and gave Himself for you. This is true whether you are a Jew or a Gentile. All must come to God the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ.