Read & Study the Bible Online - Bible Portal

Romans 11:1-10 - Homilies By R.m. Edgar

The election of grace.

We saw in last chapter how the Jews, absorbed in the task of working out their own self-righteousness, had not as a nation submitted themselves to the righteousness which is of God. The Gentiles were accordingly appealed to, and their reception of the gospel is being used to provoke the Jews to jealousy, and lead them ultimately to a better mind. In the chapter now before us the apostle pursues the argument, and exhibits more in detail the Divine plan in Israel's rejection. The section now to be considered emphasizes the fact that, notwithstanding the general Jewish rejection of the gospel, there is an election of grace. And—

I. PAUL IS HIMSELF AN EXCEPTION TO THE GENERAL REJECTION OF THE GOSPEL ON THE PART OF THE JEWS . ( Romans 11:1 .) To the question which in the Revised Version is put, "Did God cast off his people?" the apostle virtually answers, "By no means; I am myself a proof to the contrary." Paul had, like his compatriots, gone about to establish his own righteousness; for years he had been taking that "roundabout way;" but he had been led by his interview with his risen Lord to see in the crucified Nazarene the Messiah of promise, and he had accepted salvation from his holy hands. No arrangement of God prevented any Jew from entering the charmed circle of Christ's fellowship and identifying himself with the Christian Church. The once-despised Messiah was waiting to receive all that cared to call upon him for his help. It was, of course, a salvation all of grace. Self-righteousness was sacrificed in the process; but it was in consequence the more thoroughly Divine. Consequently, it was the Jews who kept themselves out of the promise and the blessing, and no preventive ordinance of God.

II. THE SAVED EXCEPTIONS ARE ALWAYS MORE NUMEROUS THAN WE IN OUR DOWNCAST CONDITION IMAGINE . ( Romans 11:2-5 .) The apostle goes back for comfort to the case of Elijah. In his days religion was in a desperate condition. One by one had Jezebel cut off God's prophets, so that Elijah, as he looked over the doomed land, fancied he was the only witness left. The whole nation, in his judgment, had conformed to the idolatry of the court, and his were the only knees which had not bowed to Baal. It was this view of things which Elijah laid before the Lord. But to his surprise he is informed that God has still seven thousand worshippers who have not bowed to Baal nor kissed the idol. Matters were better than Elijah imagined. There was a larger remnant, according to the election of grace, than he could have anticipated. The same lesson is to be learned at a later period in Hebrew history, in connection with the restoration of the exiles to Canaan. In the restored remnant God had a larger proportion of faithful witnesses than to the outward eye was apparent; and they became a seed of blessing in the promised land. It is so, let us believe, always. We cannot see all the good which has been accomplished through the gospel. We must let God "write up the people," and make out his own statistics. Our reckoning, like Elijah's, will usually be astray. God has "hidden ones," unknown to most, and his cause is not the hopeless one which pessimists suggest.

III. THE REMNANT SAVED OWES ALL TO DIVINE GRACE . ( Romans 11:6 .) For the gospel is a way of salvation by free, unmerited favour, as opposed to all self-righteousness. It may be humiliating to be able to contribute nothing to our own salvation, but to have to accept it full and free from a risen Lord; yet salvation through humiliation is better, surely, than being lost. "Grace," says Dr. R. W. Hamilton, "is free favour; it can be related to no right, and contained in no law. It is extra-judicial: whenever bestowed, it depends upon the mere will of him who exercises it, or, upon what is the same thing, his voluntary pledge and agreement. If this latter be withdrawn, there may be a forfeiture of integrity and fidelity, but it is only so far unjust to those deprived of it, that a claim arose out of it; but no injustice accrues to them, considered in their original circumstances. A simple test of grace is presented by the following inquiries: Ought it to be exercised? Can it be righteously withheld? If we affirm the one, if we deny the other, it may be obligation, debt, reason, it cannot be grace, for this principle never owes itself to its object; and in not showing it, the person still is just. If there is any necessity for it, save that of demerit and its misery, 'it is no more grace.'" £ By keeping the meaning of the term steadily in view, then, it will be seen that no injustice is done any who decline salvation by free grace and insist on some form of self-righteousness. For the latter is pure favouritism, and the former can alone be adopted by a God who is no respecter of persons.

IV. THE REJECTED JEWS WERE JUDICIALLY BLINDED . ( Romans 11:7-10 .) Now, when we consider what the Jews generally were seeking after, we can see justice in their rejection. Their idea was essentially ambitious; they wanted a military and worldly Messiah to put them at the head of the nations of the earth. This vaulting ambition overleaped itself and fell on the other side. They obtained not what they were seeking for. But the election, the humble-minded who were ready to be saved by grace, got their salvation and their place in Messiah's spiritual kingdom. A spiritual Messiah satisfied their longings, while the proud, self-righteous worldlings were sent empty away. Now, what the apostle here notices is that their worldly spirit led to spiritual blindness. They were so engrossed with the table of self-righteousness and ambition that they could not see the offers and education of God's Mace. This blindness comes in the very order of nature, and is judicial. Engrossed with purely worldly ideas, they get unable to see the gracious opportunities or to appreciate them. And so they experience a fate which they richly deserve. May God preserve us all from judicial blindness!—R.M.E.

Be the first to react on this!

Scroll to Top

Group of Brands