The Remnant

Romans: The Gospel For All  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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God has always done His greatest work through a remnant. Get rid of the notion of numbers
The Christian Soldier, 278
David Martyn Lloyd-Jones

The Sand of the Sea vs the Remnant

The doctrine of election and Paul’s point about the “true” Israel.
The Gentiles: those who were not my people I will call my people.
The Jews: Not all are true Israel.
The theology of a remnant:
The meaning: that which remains after some disaster. In Scripture, it has the meaning attached with God’s preserving hand of his people by making sure that, while many, even most may be lost, a core community of God’s people remains. This is especially true in moments of judgement for sin, or in the midst of mass apostasy.
Noah Genesis 7:23
Genesis 7:23 ESV
He blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens. They were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark.
Joseph Genesis 45:6-7
Genesis 45:6–7 ESV
For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors.
Elijah during the reign of King Ahab 1 Kings 19:18
1 Kings 19:18 ESV
Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”
During the rebuilding of the temple Ezra 9:8
Ezra 9:8 ESV
But now for a brief moment favor has been shown by the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant and to give us a secure hold within his holy place, that our God may brighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our slavery.
And of course, the text that Paul quotes in our passage tonight
Isaiah 10:22–23 ESV
For though your people Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return. Destruction is decreed, overflowing with righteousness. For the Lord God of hosts will make a full end, as decreed, in the midst of all the earth.
Throughout the Bible, we see that over and over again, God saves a remnant of his people from the destruction of his wrath for the purpose of showing his mercy and securing his promises. The very calling of Abraham and the founding of the nation of Israel was a display of this remnant theology by the calling of one man and making of him a great nation.
Paul shows us that the mystery of God’s election revealed in the Gospel is that the people of God is opened to all, both Jew and Gentile, who believe in Jesus Christ. There is a widening of the door, and yet the theme of remnant remains. Circling back to his first thought in this chapter, it is true that Israel has mostly rejected the Gospel, as well as most of humanity in general. Only a few, known as the elect, receive it. Paul has shown that, rather than this proving God’s promises to have failed, they show the continuation of his mercy through the elect remnant.

The Mercy of God to the Elect

The remnant are picked from the nations in an unsuspected way, so that those who did not know God are now called his beloved and sons of the living God.
Paul’s reference to Isaiah 10 shows that this is not a new thought to the NT. Although the people of Israel numbered so great, yet only a remnant of them would be saved from God’s judgement. It is expected that only a remnant are saved.
We may also wonder why God only elects so few from among the people of the earth. Why the road is so narrow and the gate so thin. It is for this very purpose, that God may show his glory through the judgement and destruction of many and the salvation of the few to show both his great power and wrath against sin and his great mercy and love towards sinners, his precious few whom he elected in love.
This only makes sense when we consider our great wickedness as a human race, and how unlikely and unworthy our salvation is.
Yet, as we have seen in Matthew, this few is not from among the great, wise, and righteous of the world, but the lowly and humble, sinners and children. The remnant are not the cream of the crop, but rather the few God showed his great power in saving.
The reference to Sodom and Gomorrah show the complete desolation our sins deserve. None survived except righteous Lot and his two daughters. Those cities became completely unknown in the world except as an illustration of total annihilation and destruction at God’s hands.
The elect are not special. If God had not left us as a remnant, surely we would be desolate and destroyed just as those ancient cities were. So we are reminded that it is not based on works, but on him who calls and has mercy on whom he will.
Those whom God leaves as a remnant have a sure foundation in Christ, though all around them fall away. They can have faith that they stand on sure ground, though the ground under the feet of the rest of the world collapses. Although God will make a full end of the earth, as he says in Isaiah 10:23, but he then tells his people who dwell in Zion not to be afraid of the enemies by whom the rest of Israel has been destroyed, because Is 10:25
Isaiah 10:25 ESV
For in a very little while my fury will come to an end, and my anger will be directed to their destruction.


Christians are a remnant on the earth, a remnant both of true Israel and of the true image-bearers of God among the nations.
We often feel, as Elijah did, the weight of our smallness. What are the 7000 knees who did not bow to Baal against the many tens of thousands who did bow? What is Noah to the raging flood waters that decimated all the people’s of his world? What Is Jerusalem against the armies of Sennacherib of Assyria, or Abraham’s house among the warring tribes of the Canaanites? What is Faith Baptist Church in a city as great and as lost as Toronto?
This is where God’s glory is greatly shown, in the victory of the few, the rising of the weak, and the flourishing of the remnant. God’s remnant counters all expectations and contradicts all odds. While remnants are most of the time made up of the strongest in a population, this remnant is the weak and child-like. While a remnant is a reminder of how small a people has become, God’s remnant will inherit the earth. While a remnant is an invisible minority, God’s remnant will one day rule over all creation and judge angels. In saving only a remnant, God shows his great power and makes it clear that he alone has done these things. He is glorified in saving a remnant for himself.
Even among those who claim to be Christian, there is a remnant of those who hold to the true teachings of Scripture and believe the Gospel. This should not discourage us, but remind us that God will still have victory through his faithful minority.
Remnant is a theme of sorrow amid destruction, mixed in a bitter-sweet way with the hope of renewal and the prospect of a future. This ought to be our focus as the remnant elect of God. While we desire to see more and more come to faith, we are faced with the reality that as long as the current age persists, we who are faithful to God will normally be the minority of the elect. However, we do this with the hope that one day, we will worship among the un-numbered multitude from all of history of those who have followed God and trusted his promises.
Let us with great humility and thankfulness consider our great unworthiness of being counted among the remnant. We have escaped God’s judgement purely by his loving mercy. We have been counted among his people, the weak minority of this world and the heirs of an eternal Kingdom in the next.
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