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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 5

Verse 5. At this present time. In the time when the apostle wrote. Though the mass of the nation was to be rejected, yet it did not follow that all were to be excluded from the favour of God. As in the time of Elijah, when all appeared to be dark, and all the nation, except one, seemed to have become apostate, yet there was a considerable number of the true friends of God; so in the time of Paul, though the nation had rejected their Messiah,—though, as a consequence, they were to be rejected as a people; and though they were eminently wicked and corrupt,—yet it did not follow that all were cast off, or that any were excluded on whom God had purposed to bestow salvation.

A remnant. That which is left or reserved, Ro 9:27. He refers here, doubtless, to that part of the nation which was truly pious, or which had embraced the Messiah.

According to the election of grace. By a gracious or merciful choosing, or election; and not by any merit of their own. As in the time of Elijah, it was because God had reserved them unto himself that any were saved from idolatry, so now it was by the same gracious sovereignty that any were saved from the prevalent unbelief. The apostle here does not specify the number, but there can be no doubt that a multitude of Jews had been saved by becoming Christians, though compared with the nation—the multitude who rejected the Messiah—it was but a remnant.

The apostle thus shows that neither all the ancient people of God were east away, nor that any whom he foreknew were rejected. And though he had proved that a large part of the Jews were to be rejected, and though infidelity was prevalent, yet still there were some who had been Jews who were truly pious, and entitled to the favour of God. Nor should they deem this state of things remarkable, for a parallel case was recorded in their own Scriptures. We may learn from this narrative,

(1.) that it is no unparalleled thing for the love of many to wax cold, and for iniquity to abound.

(2.) The tendency of this is to produce deep feeling and solicitude among the true friends of God. Thus David says, "Rivers of waters run down mine eyes because they keep not thy law," Ps 119:136. Comp. Jer 9:1; Lu 19:41.

(3.) That in these darkest tunes we should not be discouraged. There may be much more true piety in the world than, in our despondency, we may suppose. We should take courage in God, and believe that he will not forsake any that are his true friends, or on whom he has purposed to bestow eternal life.

(4.) It is of God that all are not corrupt and lost. It is owing only to the election of grace, to his merciful choosing, that any are saved. And as in the darkest times he has reserved a people to himself, so we should believe that he will still meet abounding evil, and save those whom he has chosen from eternal death.

{f} "then at this present time" Ro 9:27

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