The same God who preserves Israel also preserves his Church. As our western society becomes engulfed by materialism and secularism and as the Church appears to be constantly on the back foot we can easily despair. Yet there is no need, God will preserve his Church in our nation and across Europe. There will always be a remnant.
God’s Plan For Israel
(j) Why Does God Preserve His Church?
This chapter begins with Paul’s third great impassioned plea for the Jewish people. It is most likely that the translators devised these three chapters (9,10 and 11) by using these expressions of burden as the points of separation. We can sense the indignation and the love exuding from the man of God as he exclaims
“Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite…”.
He then proceeds in this opening chapter to identify five reasons why God has not cast away the Jewish people. Despite their darkness and rebellion the Lord has a future for Israel; this is the theme of the 11th chapter particularly. The principles laid down at the commencement of this chapter are much wider, however, than Israel. The same God who preserves Israel also preserves his Church. As our western society becomes engulfed by materialism and secularism and as the Church appears to be constantly on the back foot we can easily despair. Yet there is no need, God will preserve his Church in our nation and across Europe. There will always be a remnant.
1: The Argument From God’s Nature v1
Paul’s first argument is based on his understanding of God. The words “God forbid” while being simple are profound in that they are an expression of Paul’s conviction that it is impossible for God to cast away his people. This is a favourite expression of Paul’s when dealing with challenges to truth. He has used it already in relation to faith (3:31), sanctification (6:15) and God’s nature (9:14). Now he uses this simple statement to argue that God will preserve his church as one who is faithful. He returns to this throughout this chapter (note v29 especially).
2: The Argument From Personal Testimony v1
Paul claims his own background as proof that God has a future for Israel, as he himself was a Jew. Like wise we can argue that God has an interest in the church of Christ in our nations – because he has saved souls and established congregations; for what purpose? – that he might bless our people.
3: The Argument From Biblical History v2-4
The appeal to Elijah is fascinating because he felt in his own mind that he was alone fighting the Lord’s battles and this plummeted him into a spiritual depression. He was rebuked by the revelation that 7,000 existed throughout the Kingdom who had not bowed the knee to Baal. Sometimes we can be fooled into thinking that because our own denomination or local fellowship is not making progress that the cause of God through the land is suffering. There are thousands of people across the world who are taking a stand for God, people whom we may never meet, but their existence is proof that God is building his church.
It is important to learn the lesson that the cause of Christ is greater than individuals, organisations or denominations.
4: The Argument From Election v5
The Jewish remnant existed because of election. The word remnant refers to the small surviving part, in the Old Testament this referred to the people who survived the invasions by the Assyrian and the Babylonian armies. Paul was convinced that there would always be a small number, the remnant, from among the Jews who would accept that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, because God has ordained that this would be so. In every age and in every land God will not leave himself without a witness. In the long dark ages prior to the Reformation the light shone dimly but still it shone through the Waldensians of Italy, the Albigences of France and through the ministry of men like Wycliffe and Huss. God has decreed that there will be a called out people in every age, even when the truth is attacked.
5: The Argument From Grace v6-7
The appeal to election leads us to one inescapable fact, that God establishes and preserves his church as a result of his grace. The Jewish people have worked to earn favour and they fail but the grace of God alone can bring them what they seek. We would not enjoy the Protestant Reformation heritage that we have if it were not for God’s grace. Our Father’s were blind and ignorant papists and we would have been left in that position were it not for grace. We today know that there is a future for the Church in our nation and across the world because of the grace and favour of God. This is our ultimate appeal in times of discouragement.