The Letter to the Romans



37. Remnant of Israel


Romans 11:1-6

1 I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.

2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don't you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah-how he appealed to God against Israel:

3 "Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me"?

4 And what was God's answer to him? "I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal."

5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.

6 And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.


Key Words



Chosen by grace


Paul spent chapter 9 describing God's sovereign choice of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the history of His people Israel. Chapter 10 he spent examining the current state of Israel, their corporate rejection of the gospel, and God's inclusion of the Gentiles as recipients of His grace. Now, in chapter 11, Paul looks ahead to the future of Israel.


1. Since God disciplined Israel for blatantly turning from God over and over, and since prophecy foretold their rejection as a consequence for their apostasy, what does Paul mean when he says "by no means" did God reject His people? (see Leviticus 26:44; 1 Samuel 12:19-25; Psalm 94:12-15; Jeremiah 31:37; 33:23-26)



2. In context, who are God's people in verse two, whom He did not reject but whom He foreknew? (see verse 1; Romans 8:29; Ephesians 1:4-6; 2 Timothy 1:8-10)



3. Paul uses Elijah's experience of sniveling to God about his lone faithfulness and Israel's mass apostasy as an example of God's faithfulness to His covenant people. What are the parallels and contrasts between Elijah's experience and the contemporary situation Paul was describing? (read 1 Kings 19:1-18)



4. Who is the "remnant" Paul mentions here? (see Jeremiah 44:11-14; Jeremiah 50:18-20; Isaiah 10:20-22)



5. There are three references to "remnant" in the New Testament: Acts 15:16-17 (referring to Amos 9:11-12), Romans 9:27, and Romans 11:5. "Remnant" was a common theme in the OT. What does the context of the NT texts as well as the lack of reference to "a remnant" in the New Testament suggest about God's purposes for the remnant? What fulfills the purpose of the remnant?



6. Given the understanding that the "remnant" are those few from among God's people who remained faithful and were spared for something, how do we reconcile their faithfulness (their choice) with their being chosen by grace (God's choice)? (see Romans 3:22-24; 4:16-17; Ephesians 2:4-8; 4:4-8; Titus 1:2; 2 Corinthians 12:9; John 1:14, 16, 17)



7. What can be concluded about the remnant that exists from among the Jews based on verses 5 & 6?




8. How has your understanding or "remnant" changed?



9. Do you see yourself as part of a remnant or as part of those who have found the fulfillment of the remnant?



10. If you do not see yourself as participating in the transformation for which God preserved His remnant, what stands between you and surrendering to Him?



11. Ask God to make your heart humble and willing to surrender to Him. Praise Him for calling you. Praise Jesus for dying in order to give you a new identity as a child of God. Praise the Holy Spirit for moving you out of the role of a "remnant" into your new reality as a child of God.



Copyright (c) 2006 Graphics Studio, Redlands, CA USA. All rights reserved. Posted June 21, 2006.
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