Romans 11:5
Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
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(5, 6) As there was a remnant then, so also is there a remnant now. That there should be so is due not to any human merit on the part of those exempted from the fate of their nation, but to the spontaneous act of the divine grace selecting them from the rest. These two things,” grace” and “works,” really exclude each other.

The Apostle reverts somewhat parenthetically, and because his mind is full of the thought, to his idea of Romans 9:11-16. We have here also a break in the train of argument. After establishing the fact that there is this remnant, the Apostle inquires how there came to be one. The reason was because the mass of the people trusted to their own works instead of relying upon grace; therefore grace deserted them, and they were left to a judicial blindness.

11:1-10 There was a chosen remnant of believing Jews, who had righteousness and life by faith in Jesus Christ. These were kept according to the election of grace. If then this election was of grace, it could not be of works, either performed or foreseen. Every truly good disposition in a fallen creature must be the effect, therefore it cannot be the cause, of the grace of God bestowed on him. Salvation from the first to the last must be either of grace or of debt. These things are so directly contrary to each other that they cannot be blended together. God glorifies his grace by changing the hearts and tempers of the rebellious. How then should they wonder and praise him! The Jewish nation were as in a deep sleep, without knowledge of their danger, or concern about it; having no sense of their need of the Saviour, or of their being upon the borders of eternal ruin. David, having by the Spirit foretold the sufferings of Christ from his own people, the Jews, foretells the dreadful judgments of God upon them for it, Ps 69. This teaches us how to understand other prayers of David against his enemies; they are prophecies of the judgments of God, not expressions of his own anger. Divine curses will work long; and we have our eyes darkened, if we are bowed down in worldly-mindedness.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 favor 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; Romans 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 tinge 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 cast way, 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 favor 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;" Psalm 119:136; compare Jeremiah 9:1; Luke 19:41.

(3) that in these darkest times 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.

5. Even so at this present time—"in this present season"; this period of Israel's rejection. (See Ac 1:7, Greek).

there is—"there obtains," or "hath remained"

a remnant according to the election of grace—"As in Elijah's time the apostasy of Israel was not so universal as it seemed to be, and as he in his despondency concluded it to be, so now, the rejection of Christ by Israel is not so appalling in extent as one would be apt to think: There is now, as there was then, a faithful remnant; not however of persons naturally better than the unbelieving mass, but of persons graciously chosen to salvation." (See 1Co 4:7; 2Th 2:13). This establishes our view of the argument on Election in Ro 9:1-29, as not being an election of Gentiles in the place of Jews, and merely to religious advantages, but a sovereign choice of some of Israel itself, from among others, to believe and be saved. (See on [2245]Ro 9:6.)

q.d. As it was in the times of Elias, so it is now;

there is a remnant of the Jews, which God hath graciously elected; therefore their rejection is not total, which was the thing to be proved. Though those that believe are few in respect of those that believe not, as a remnant is but little in respect of the whole piece, yet there are many thousands of them, as James said to Paul, Acts 21:20: Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe.

Even so then at this present time also,.... In which the apostle lived, the time of preaching the Gospel, the accepted time, the day of salvation, which then was, and also now is; at that time when the Gospel was sent unto the Gentiles, and God took out of them a people for his name; when multitudes of them were converted, and embraced the faith of Christ; and when the Jews in general had rejected the Messiah, killed the Lord Jesus, persecuted his apostles, and contradicted and blasphemed the Gospel; yet still God had made a reserve of some among them, for himself:

there is a remnant; alluding either to Isaiah 10:21, or to the oracle delivered to Elijah, saying, "I have reserved", or "left", &c. 1 Kings 19:18, that as God had reserved for himself, in Elijah's time, a number of persons, who had not gone into the idolatrous worship of Baal, when the greater part of the Israelites did, so he had taken care to make a like reserve in the apostle's time, when the bulk of the Jewish nation had refused the Messiah, and despised his Gospel. This is a further proof, that God had not cast away all the people of the Jews; and that as Elijah was not the only worshipper of the true God in his time, so the apostle was not the only instance of grace among that people now; there was a number of them; the number of the disciples after our Lord's ascension, was an hundred and twenty; upon the first sermon preached by Peter, three thousand were converted, and added to them; after that, they are said to be about five thousand, and still multitudes were added, both of men and women, and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith; so that before the dispersion of the church at Jerusalem by a persecution, there might be at least such a number called by grace, as God had reserved in Elijah's time; though these, when compared with the generality of the nation, which remained in unbelief, were but a few, and therefore called a "remnant", or a "reserve", as the word may be rendered; for these were a set of men, whom God had reserved and preserved in his Son, and in the covenant of his grace, from everlasting; and had kept a watchful eye over them in time, reserved them in his providence, and saved them to be called; and by calling them, had reserved them by his grace, and preserved them by his power, from the general unbelief, impenitence, blindness, and ignorance, which prevailed over the people of the Jews; which reserve was not owing to their superior goodness, they being in no wise, with respect to nature, birth, and privileges, better than those who were not reserved; nor to the disposition of their minds and wills, their minds and consciences being defiled, and their wills naturally as obstinate and perverse as others; nor to any good works done by them, since works before calling are not properly good, and those after are the fruits of that grace: but this reverse was made,

according to the election of grace; God's choice of these persons before the world was, which is the source and spring of all the blessings of grace, both in time eternity: hence these persons were put into the hands of Christ, secured in an everlasting covenant, took special care of by divine Providence, were called by grace, justified, sanctified, and at last glorified: and this choice is owing to grace, for not men's choice of God's grace, but God's choice, owing to his, own grace, is here meant. The Pelagians would have it, that this election is the choice which man makes of the grace of God: whereas such is the enmity of mans nature, and will against God and his grace, that he would never make choice of that, if the grace of God did not first make choice of him, and lay hold upon him: grace here, does not design the object of the choice, but the cause, spring, and motive of it, which is not any habit or quality in men, as faith and holiness, for these are fruits and effects of electing grace, and so not causes, motives, or conditions of it, but the free love and favour of God in his own heart; and shows the sovereignty and freeness of election, which is no ways depending on the will and works of men, but upon the sovereign good will and pleasure of God.

Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
Romans 11:5. In this way, corresponding to this Old Testament historical precedent, therefore (in order to make the application of Romans 11:3-4), there has been (there has come into existence, and actually exists—perfect) also in the present time, in consequence of an election made out of grace, a remnant, namely, a small part taken out of the hardened mass of the people, i.e. the comparatively insignificant number of believing Jews, whom God’s grace has chosen out of the totality of the people. It is related to the latter as a remainder (Herod. i. 119; 2 Kings 19:4) to a whole, from which the largest part is removed (Romans 11:3-4; Romans 9:27; Romans 9:29), notwithstanding Acts 21:20. The point of comparison is the notion of the λεῖμμα in contrast to the remaining mass; the latter in the typical history has perished, but in the antitypical event has forfeited saving deliverance.

κατʼ ἐκλ. χάρ.] opposed to the presumption in reference to works of the Jewish character; hence, too, the emphatic declaration in Romans 11:6. It is to be connected not with λεῖμμα as its more precise definition (Hofmann), but with γέγονεν as its mode. This is evinced by the following εἰ δὲ χάριτι, sc. γέγονεν, where χάριτι is equivalent to the κατʼ ἐκλογ. χάριτος.

Romans 11:5. Application of the principle of Romans 11:4 to the present. ὁ νῦν καιρὸς is the present regarded not merely as a date, but as in some sense a crisis. λεῖμμα γέγονεν: a remnant has come to be—this is the fact which has emerged from the general unbelief of Israel. κατʼ ἐκλογὴν χάριτος: on these words the emphasis lies. The existence of the remnant is due to an election of grace, a choice on the part of God the motive of which is to be sought in His unmerited love alone. The idea is the same as in chap. Romans 9:6-13 : but cf. note on Romans 11:4.

5. at this present time] In which the mournful phenomenon of Jewish unbelief occasioned this whole discussion.

there is] Lit. there hath been: it was and still is.

a remnant] a reserve, a leaving. The noun is cognate to the verb “I reserved” in Romans 11:4. This “remnant” at some stages of apostolic history (Acts 6:7; Acts 21:20,) was in itself very numerous. But it was always, no doubt, small comparatively; and it became more and more so the more the distinctive character of the New Kingdom came out, (as in Stephen’s and now in Paul’s teaching,) and the nearer the last crisis of the old order approached.

according to the election of grace] i.e. “on the scale determined by the Divine choice (to faith and salvation), whose only motive and reason is grace—the free favour of Him who chooses out His own.”—See on Romans 8:33.

Romans 11:5. Οὖν, then) The conclusion drawn from the Old to the New Testament.

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