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Verse 5

Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

See Lard's quotation under preceding verse. The wretched apostasy under Ahab was a fit illustration of that same Israel (after the flesh) which in Paul's day had not merely murdered the prophets, but the Christ, and had made the temple a den of thieves and robbers, who had decided to kill the true King and take his inheritance for themselves, and who, after the resurrection of the Lord, bribed witnesses to deny it, and sought with stones and bloodshed to exterminate the church of God itself from the earth! People who can see in fleshly Israel "the people of God" (!) need to look again.

Even so then at this present time ... is Paul's way of saying that, just as the true Israel in Elijah's day was in no way part of the corrupt nation, just so then, at the beginning of the Christian era, the true Israel had no connection whatever with the hardened and apostate nation that murdered the Lord. Then as now, Paul was saying, God's true people are of a different order, after the election of grace. They are the people who have accepted the gospel, have been baptized into the body of Christ, thus being Abraham's true seed (Galatians 3:29).

A remnant ... means a part of fleshly Israel. And who were they? They were the 3,000 souls who obeyed the gospel on Pentecost. The original church of Christ was almost totally Jewish, including the Twelve, and many others of that first period. They are the remnant, the true spiritual seed, later extended by the inclusion of Gentiles and "whosoever will."

Paul's argument here is crystal clear. God's keeping the covenant with Israel always had meant, and never meant anything else, keeping the covenant with the spiritual seed, the righteous remnant, the true Israel, not the other.

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