“Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise, grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise, work is no longer work. What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded” (Romans 11:5-7).
Throughout human history there have always been two groups of people—the many on the broad way which leads to destruction and the few (a remnant) on the narrow way which leads to life.
In Noah’s day, the remnant of the righteous was eight people (2 Peter 2:5).
In Elijah’s day, the remnant of the righteous numbered seven thousand Jewish men (1 Kings 19:18).
In Paul’s day, the remnant of the righteous was the exact number of people—Jew and Gentile—who had heard and obeyed the gospel.
Like everyone alive today, a first century Jew had two options—the election of grace by which his obedience to the gospel saved him from his sins or the idolatrous belief that he can earn his salvation by doing enough meritorious works. These two options are mutually exclusive, and Paul had tried them both.
Sadly, many of Paul’s countrymen according to the flesh had chosen the broad way of seeking salvation via personal merit. Even more sad is the fact that this choice had blinded them to the folly of their decision and its irreversible, eternal destination.
Who in their right mind—then or now—would choose to not become a part of the remnant?