The Remnant, Survivors of the Decadent Tsunami (Reading Romans 11)

The word remnant describes those that remain. They are survivors. Something devastating has taken place and multitudes have perished. Perhaps it is the coming wrath of God that will be so cataclysmic only a few, a remnant, will remain (Romans 9:27).

We are facing a godless cultural tide. It is a tsunami of sexual perversion, amoral values, relativism, and spiritual chaos. A Google search is an x-ray of the human soul. Whether it be statistical data, rampant cursing, hopeless blogs, or decadent images the moral devastation is apparent.

Elijah has faced the prophets of Baal and by the power of God has won. In 1 Kings 19 he faces the wrath of Queen Jezebel. He hides alone in a cave. His move is more than a posture but a metaphor for his fear. God questions Elijah as to why he is in the cave and Elijah explains in short it is because he is alone. He is the remnant of Israel. He feels the decadent culture of Baal worship has swept away those who worship God.

“Lord they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” (Romans 11:3 quoting I Kings 19:10).

God informs Elijah that his perceptions are not reality. The reality is that there are seven thousand who have not bowed to Baal.

But what is God’s reply to him? ‘I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal. (Romans 11:4 quoting I Kings 19:14).

Paul applies this truth to the present condition, “so too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.” (Romans 11:5)

The grace of God is an effectual power to sustain the human soul against the tsunami of immoral decadence.

We have Elijah like moments in which we feel alone. Our sense of loneliness is a feeling that sin is so prevalent that it is not possible for a person to walk with God and at the same time live a holy life. Like Elijah we feel everyone has bowed a knee to something. This being the case the church is full of people with filthy knees. We give in too easily.

I ask, what about the grace of God? Notice the text does not imply that there were seven thousand impressive people of incredible moral stature who had not bowed a knee to Baal and so God claimed them as the remnant. They were not self made survivors. The text says, quoting God, “I have kept for myself.” Paul’s commentary is that the remnant is “chosen by grace.” The grace of God is able to sustain the human soul. The grace of God is operating in the lives of a few and making in them a marked moral difference. They are distinct because they are God’s. This means the Christian life is not blanket forgiveness that grants license to ride the cultural tide of lasciviousness. Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!”[1] The Christian life is remnant theology. The grace of God creates a distinct group of people with clean knees, holy hands, and a contrite heart. By the grace of God you can endure. By the grace of God you can pursue holiness. By the grace of God you can say, “No.”

By the grace of God there is light in the public school.

By the grace of God there are men who have overcome pornography.

By the grace of God addicts become missionaries.

By the grace of God there are thousands who have not bowed a knee to the pressures of pop culture.

There is a remnant of holy survivors preserved by the power of God’s grace. You are not alone.

[1] Romans 6:15


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