The Exhibition of Divine Sovereignty in Election
The Proof Given
Paul quotes the Old Testament Scriptures to prove the fact of election. That is his thesis, his proposition. He says this matter of election is nothing new. It is in the Old Testament.
A lot of folks think that this passage refers to the Gentiles. It does not. They think Paul made a mistake and quoted from the Old Testament something that belonged to the Jews and applied it to the Gentiles. He is talking about Israel. "I will call her my people which was not my people." God cast Israel off and then picked her up in mercy.
How many are going to be saved? Just a remnant. So Paul is saying, "This is just exactly what your own Scripture says. Your own prophets said if anybody was to be saved, it would only be a remnant." "A seed" that is all. "If He had not left us a seed, we had become like Sodom and Gomorrah." They were destroyed utterly.
The Conclusion Drawn
"What shall we say then?" Here is what he said: "The Gentiles who followed not after righteousness, attained to righteousness." The Gentiles who originally were not interested in it at all and went down into sin - these were the ones who gained righteousness. That is wonderful! They were not looking for righteousness, but they got it, "a righteousness by faith." But Israel "tried to be good" in their own strength, in their own righteousness, and did not arrive there at all. There are the two classes: the Gentiles who did not follow it, but got there: the Jews who tried, but failed. Why was it so? "Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by works of the law." When a man seeks righteousness by the works of the law, he will never get there. Not if he gives his body to be burned, nor if he makes an ascetic out of himself will he reach righteousness.
"They stumbled at the stone of stumbling, even as it is written" in their own Scriptures. Jesus Christ is the rock - some men stumble over Him, other men build on Him!
It is a solemn possibility to be a member of the visible church and not a member of the invisible church. That is the lesson for us today. It is possible to be humanly numbered among the people of God and yet NOT be a true child of God. A second lesson is that spiritual life does not come through physical birth. Your father and your mother, and all your family as far back as you can trace, may be Christians, but that won't make you a Christian any more than it made Ishmael and Esau Israelites because they were born of Abraham and Isaac.
Let us take these things to ourselves and examine ourselves, and find out whether we are really in the Lord Jesus Christ or not.
~Alva J. McClain~
(continued with # 63 - "The Exercise of Human Responsibility in Rejection - 10:1-21")