March 8, 10:00 a.m.
Speaker: Steve Lawson
Topic: The Election of the Remnant
Passage: Romans 9:10-28
Romans 9:10-28 introduces the word that is the theme of our conference this year: remnant. The word remnant refers to a small section that is part of a greater whole. Throughout the Bible, this is how the people of God are depicted—the few who are chosen out of the many. Whether Jews or Gentiles, we are the remnant, a small fraction of the whole.
We commonly use the word remnant to describe leftover pieces of carpet and fabric: things that seem to be small and insignificant, ready to be thrown away. In the eyes of the world, we are the leftovers, those that have little value.
Before the foundation of the world, God chose a small portion of the world's population to be His people. This remnant is who we are and it is who God has entrusted to our care for shepherding. We are those rejected by the world, yet chosen by God; unknown by the world, yet foreknown by God; persecuted by the world, yet predestined by God. We are the remnant—the small, the few, the little, yet precious in the sight of God.
Martin Lloyd Jones once said, “God has always done His greatest work through a remnant.” God has always chosen to work through His chosen little flock. As we serve Him in ministry and interact with the world around us, we see a relatively small number that God has entrusted to us. Let us remember how precious they are because they are precious to God.
An Unmerited Choice
Before God created anything, He had already masterminded His eternal decree of all of eternity. Out of the many, God would sovereignly choose who would be a part of the remnant and who would remain in their sin. This determinative, distinguishing, even discriminating choice was not made because of those chosen, but rather in spite of them, because they were sinners, marred by sin. No one deserved to be included among the number of the elect.
Out of the mass of humanity, God has singled out and selected those who would be a part of His remnant. And He did not choose them because of their works, but because of “him who calls” (Romans 9:11).
It is the call of God that brings to Christ what was chosen by God before the foundation of the world. God’s call is so powerful that it raises the dead from the grave of sin to spiritual resurrection. This call of God pierces to the very center of a person’s soul. It summons and arrests the one who is called and draws them irresistibly into faith in Jesus Christ. No one would ever be saved if God did not choose them and call them to Himself.
If you’re a believer, the reason is that God sovereignly elected you before time began and called you to Himself at the predetermined moment.
An Unexpected Choice
God makes unexpected choices—often the opposite of those the world would make. God’s remnant has always been the unexpected choice: Moses, the helpless baby floating in a basket; David, the nobody shepherd from nowheresville. God has always chosen to work with nobodies, to set His heart of affection upon those the world considered lesser.
God, from within Himself, has chosen to set His love on those who are unworthy. He delights in choosing the least and the last to be His remnant. And He does it this way to display that He alone is sovereign over salvation, so that no man may boast before Him. God will choose who He will choose and save who He will save. Salvation is of the Lord.
An Undefiled Choice
God is perfect in His choices. No charge of injustice can be brought against any choice God makes. He has mercy on whom He wills without it being in any way unfair. Mercy is unearned and undeserved—He can give this free gift to whosoever He desires. Mercy is all of God. Everyone who receives salvation receives mercy, and everyone who doesn’t is left to receive only what they deserve.
Because of their sinful nature, no man would ever believe in Jesus Christ if left to himself. Dead men do not believe. If salvation depended on the man who wills, no man would ever be saved. You don’t want this choice to be left to you because you will always choose your sin.
Man’s will is bound by sin and must not occupy the throne. The will of God is on the throne.
An Unaccountable Choice
God owes no person an explanation for the choices He has made. He will not be called to give an account for those He has chosen and those He has chosen not to choose. God cannot be called into the courtroom and questioned, and He cannot be charged with wrongdoing.
God does not owe us an explanation for why He has chosen what He has chosen. And when we question His choices, we assume the moral high ground over God, posturing ourselves as superior to Him. You must remember who you are before God. How can the creature answer back to the creator?
There is no delegated authority given to God by a higher power. All of God’s supreme authority is within Himself and out of Himself. God is sovereign over all of humanity, and He can choose to do with humanity as He pleases.
And in His sovereignty, He chooses some as objects of grace and others to fulfill a different purpose: for God to show off other attributes of Himself on them. He shows His wrath, power, and patience on some while He shows off His grace, compassion, and mercy on these others. God is glorified in the salvation of the elect, and He is glorified in the damnation of the reprobate. He put His wrath, power, and patience on display so that His mercy would shine all the brighter. It’s all about God putting His glory on display.
An Unrestricted Choice
God’s unrestricted election extends far beyond the “Jacobs of Israel.” It extends to the four corners of the world. He has called us into fellowship with Jesus Christ, not from among Israel only, but also from among Gentiles— from every tribe, every tongue, every people, and every nation. How vast and expansive are the mercy and saving love of God toward sinners.
God calls those who are not His people His people. He calls sinners out of darkness into the light, out of the world into the kingdom of God. In Christ, sinners are named God’s sons and brought into a saving relationship with Him. This is the remnant, a relatively small portion. And it is this remnant that will be saved.
God has not saved you randomly. He has called you for a specific purpose: to preach His word. He has not only chosen you for Heaven, but He has also chosen you to be His representative on this earth. Let nothing distract you from that purpose. You are the elect, a part of the remnant. May you be faithful to that calling.