“I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, ‘Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.’ But what does the divine response say to him? ‘I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.’ Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace” (Romans 11:1-5).
Because the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did not get to play the starring role in the drama of human redemption they assumed was theirs, they chose to reject the gospel and justify their actions by blaming God for having cast them away. Such rejection was both illogical and unscriptural.
It is illogical, because—as Paul points out in verse 1—he and others of his kinsmen according to the flesh, had obeyed the gospel and enjoyed an intimate fellowship with God. On the Day of Pentecost alone, about 3,000 Jews gladly received the gospel and called upon the name of the Lord for salvation by being baptized (Acts 2:41). They were not told, “No, you cannot do that. God has cast you away, and therefore you cannot obey the gospel.” The gospel of Christ is the power of God to salvation for the Jew first (Romans 1:16).
It is unscriptural, because—as Paul points out in verses 2-4—God has never been pleased with every single descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in any generation. In Elijah’s day, for example, there was only a remnant of 7,000 Jewish men who were living in harmony with God’s revealed will. This truth reverberates throughout the 1,500 years of Jewish history from the days of Moses to the days of Paul.
There were idolaters among the Jews in Moses’ day (Exodus 32). There were also idolaters among the Jews in Paul’s day. Yet, there was a remnant of Jews in Paul’s day who embraced the Messiah and His gospel; their obedience to the gospel—their election of grace—is proof positive that God has not cast away His people.
Rejecting the gospel of God’s grace is always illogical and unscriptural.