11 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 cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. 7 What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened, 8 as it is written: “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that could not see and ears that could not hear, to this very day.” 9 And David says: “May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them. 10 May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever.”
I am struck by the phrase “a remnant chosen by grace.” To me, it speaks clearly of God’s chief criteria for choosing us for Himself – His grace. In other words, it is nothing about me that draws Gods attention to me, but rather His grace that has drawn me into relationship with Him. It is not how morally good I am, how impressive I am, how much I have achieved, how faithful I have been…it is nothing in me that has caused God to choose me. It is His grace shown me, given to me, that is the ongoing necessary and sufficient criteria of our relationship.
I am freshly drawn into the beauty, simplicity, and power of this Good News I believe and hold so dear to. If it is all of grace, then my efforts in this life are in no way able to change His choosing of me – grace has chosen me. Quite simply, my efforts in this life are the outworking of His gracious choosing of me. So my criteria for setting a wise, moral and good life course changes profoundly – I have God’s full attention, by grace, so I am not setting the course ahead to gain or keep His attention. Instead, my criteria is framed by asking God this question – with your gracious eye already upon me, how do you want this grace you have given me to be outworked, in honour of you and in order to bless others?
Jesus, let me hear your voice clearly as I ask you this powerful question. Amen.
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh