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"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible might not tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Romans by the Book (Lesson 90)

Home Bible Study ©
Established November 2008
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4

Romans by the Book                                                                    Lesson 90

Welcome to HBS and our verse-by-verse study of Paul’s letter to the Romans.
There aren’t any announcements this week so we’ll get to the business at hand. 
Please open your Bible at Romans chapter 11 and we’ll drop in at verse 11.

Romans 11

11: I say then, they (Israel) did not stumble so as to fall, (in the sense that they were removed from God’s eternal purpose and plan) did they?  May it never be!  But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, (why) to make them (the Jews) jealous.

We learned last week that God has not given up on national Israel.  The majority of the Jews have stumbled over the “chief cornerstone” but not so as to fall (Romans 9:33; Ephesians 2:20). 

I remember a time, when after filling a cup of coffee in the kitchen, I was returning to the office with it when I tripped over a throw rug and “stumbled.”  The coffee spilt but I regained my balance without “falling” to the floor and without being injured permanently.  This is what Paul is saying.  Israel stumbled, as the O.T. prophets predicted they would. But they are not down and out for this is prophesied as well!  They will recover (Psalms 118:22; Isaiah 6:9-10a, 44:21; Ezekiel 37:1-14; Zechariah 11:12-13b).

So, Israel’s transgression has brought about salvation to the Gentiles.  This was spoken of by the prophet Hosea:  I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion, And I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’ And they will say, ‘You are my God!’” (Hosea 2:23)
I remind you of Hosea’s comment to illustrate Israel’s awareness of the Scriptures.  From the time when they were children every Israelite had been taught from the Pentateuch and they in turn taught their children, as the LORD God commanded them (Deuteronomy 6:7).  

But here’s the problem.  They possessed the book knowledge but they were missing the necessary personal relationship, or the “circumcision of the heart,” which God required.  They could recite the Scriptures by heart but they did not have a heart for God, as Paul explains:  For he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.  (Romans 2:28)

The Jewish rite of circumcision was instigated by the LORD God as a sign of His covenant with Abraham and as an as an everlasting ordinance.  It is an “outward” sign of one’s willingness to obey God.  What Israel failed to understand is that this ordinance was a forerunner of what God really sought – circumcision of the heart.  The LORD God chastised Israel saying:  So circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer.  (Deuteronomy 10:16; Isaiah 29:13)

“Circumcise your heart” is a command from God.  It put the responsibility for yielding on Israel – meaning they had to submit to God’s authority and His discipline (Deuteronomy 11:13; Leviticus 26:3; Hebrews 12:6).  

In the beginning, the LORD commanded Abraham that every male among you be circumcised on the 8th day after their birth (Genesis 17:9-14).  It goes without saying the infant could not perform the rite himself he needed assistance.  Think this through - just as two parties are necessary to perform the rite of circumcision likewise two parties are necessary to circumcise the heart.  God never intended to do this alone. 

Here God tells Israel He will perform the circumcision and this can only occur as they labor together:  “Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live (Deuteronomy 30:6; Jeremiah 9:24-26; Matthew 13:18-23; Romans 8:14).

Let’s go to verse 12.

12: Now if their (the Jews) transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles (who believe), how much more will their (Israel’s) fulfillment be!

Before Israel stumbled if a Gentile wanted to know and worship the one true God he had to convert to Judaism.  He then had to journey to Jerusalem as the Law required but even then he could not worship God directly, only Levitical priests did this.  After the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7) God called Saul of Tarsus to be his Apostle to the Gentiles and the way God managed His affairs here on earth began to change; from then on the Jews transgression became riches for the world. 

The Greek word for world is Kosmos (pronounced – Kos’-mos) and can be interpreted multiple ways.  As it’s used here Paul is contrasting Believing Gentiles to unsaved Jews. 

The Greek word for riches is Ploutos (pronounced – Ploo’-tos) and means:  fullness, abundance, plenitude; a good, i.e. that with which one is “enriched.”

The Gentiles in Paul’s day were pagans in every sense of the word; idolaters – having no hope and without God in the world (Romans 1:21-25).  But Israel’s transgression became riches for the Gentiles.  After God revealed His mystery of Grace to Paul he preached it freely and under all circumstances in Ephesus, Corinth, and even Caesar’s household in Rome – the whole world (Ephesians 3:1-7; Philippians 4:22). 

I’m sure you noticed that when you became a Believer God didn’t increase your bank account ten-fold, your Chevrolet didn’t turn into a Mercedes Benz, that beach home you’ve been dreaming of still isn’t your postal address, and most of you are still working for a living – so much for the prosperity gospel…  But what you did instantaneously possess the moment you believed Paul’s Gospel were all the spiritual riches in Christ Jesus. 

You may be living below the poverty level in America right now but in reality your citizenship is in heaven, you have been adopted by the one true living God, and you are co-heirs with His Son, Jesus Christ!  Permit these truths to sink in…  These are the riches Paul is referring to as he addresses the Gentile Believers in Rome in verse 13.  (Romans 8:17; 1 Corinthians 2:9; Ephesians 1:3-5)  

Romans 11

13: But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles, inasmuch then as I am an (*) (the) apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, (Acts 9:15)

14: if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them.

Paul has been directing his comments to his brethren in the last three chapters however, in verse 13 he speaks to the Gentile Believers in Rome. 

Now there are a couple of things I want to point out to you casual Bible readers:

(*)        The modern Bible translations have erased the word “the” preceding the word ”apostle” in verse 13 and inserted the word “an” instead and this not only violates the original text it alters Paul position as the apostle to the Gentiles.  Instead of being “the” apostle to the Gentiles he is made to assume a lesser role, as one of a group – ministering together, and this is an intentional contradiction of Scripture! 

Here is the same verse in the King James Version:  For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:

I mention this because most people are unaware of the harm that comes from changing one small word in the Bible text.  If Paul is not God’s apostle to the Gentiles, than he’s lying.  What effect does this then have on his ministry and his message?

The next item in line is some folks in the church community are “bothered” by our apostle Paul and his statements such as I magnify my ministry.  Not only do they deny his apostleship and that he had ministry they regard him as arrogant and a braggart. 

These folks fail to comprehend that:

 a) Paul was commissioned by Jesus Christ to take God’s Gospel to the Gentiles, and kings, and the sons of Israel and

b) when Paul resorted to boasting he did so to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in whatever city he preached in, so that he may save some, and to protect the church of God from false teachers.

I hadn’t planned on doing this, but a verse just came to mind and since I don’t believe in coincidence I believe in God and the working of the Holy Spirit we’re going to chase this thought down.  So, to get a clear picture of Paul and his heart for God, please flip back to Romans 1:1.  Here Paul introduces himself to the Believers in Rome in a unique way and he presents his credentials:  Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, (Romans 2:16; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

Most Bible translations of Romans 1:1 use either the word slave or servant in defining Paul’s relationship with the Lord, but the phrase “bond-servant” is the most accurate.  

This type of bond comes from Exodus 21:1-6.   According to the Law, a man who couldn’t pay a debt he owed had to become the servant of his creditor in order to work off the debt, or until the next Sabbath year, whichever was shorter.  If, during the time of his temporary service, he concluded that his master was a good man to work for, he could voluntarily convert his term of service into a lifelong commitment.  In doing so he was agreeing to permanently surrender his own interests in favor of his master’s, to do whatever the master required.  It was the servant’s choice to enter into a bond-servant relationship with his master, but once the agreement was made he could not choose to undo it later.  It was a lifelong commitment.

If his master agreed, they would go before the judges to make the arrangement official, and then the master would drive an awl through his servant’s earlobe and into the door post of the house.  This signified that the servant had become permanently "attached" to the master’s household.  According to some traditions a golden ring was inserted through the hole in the bond servant’s ear to commemorate the event.

Because of the nature and permanence of the relationship, a bond-servant frequently became a trusted member of his master’s household, eventually representing him in matters pertaining to his business or personal interests.

As Paul demonstrates through this analogy, it’s not possible to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind without getting emotional about it.

Paul had to defend his apostleship and his ministry wherever he preached God’s gospel:  “I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.”  (1 Corinthians 9; 2 Peter 3:14-17)

What does this book say?

In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, starting in chapter 11, Paul gives us the reason for his “boasting” – his plan is to meet the opposition point for point.  He does not intend to back down because God’s Gospel is being perverted.  Here Paul boasts for the cause of Jesus Christ to warn against “false teachers.”  In respect to the Corinthian intruder’s boasts concerning their service records, Paul confidently can claim that he surpasses all his opposition:  Do they claim to be servants of Christ Jesus...?  Paul says I am more. (2 Corinthians 11:21b-25)

Paul addresses these same false teachers:  But what I am doing I will continue to do, so that I may cut off opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting.  For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ, no wonder for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.  Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose (what) end will be according to their deeds (2 Corinthians 11:12-15).

Paul does not boast of the things he has accomplished to “puff himself up” before others.  Isn’t this why people brag?  Paul is only interested in vindicating the cause of Jesus Christ and protecting His church. 

 (To be continued)

© Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved

Friday, April 17, 2015

Romans by the Book (Lesson 89)

Home Bible Study ©
Established November 2008
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4

Romans by the Book                                                                    Lesson 89

Welcome to HBS a place I often refer to as Bible study-lite.  By this I mean to say here there are no schedules to keep, there are no materials to purchase, no Bible verses to memorize, no unnecessary stress brought on by imminent quizzes, and no testing on the subject matter.  You study at your own pace and in the safety and comfort of your home or office…easy peasy.   Back in the day, my classroom students never imagined it could be this effortless.  I gain from this exchange as well, but I lose some assets too.  I don’t get to see your smiling faces regularly, we’re missing the opportunity to develop relationships, and I have no idea if you’re “getting it.”  But it is what it is.

Last week we looked carefully at Romans 11:1-6 and primarily verses 2-5 which cover the principal of the remnant of Israel.  God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew.  During the time of Paul’s writing and even at this time in history a remnant exists according to God’s gracious choice. 

In Paul’s day the majority of the Israelites rejected Jesus Christ as their Messiah.  However, a substantial number of Jews accepted Paul’s Gospel and were saved by faith. In verse one Paul compared himself to Elijah; effectively saying he too was a member of the faithful remnant.  He may have also included himself in this analogy because like Elijah he endured persecution from his countrymen.  We also learned that throughout history God has chosen to work through His faithful remnant.  Here are some examples:

  • Noah – Noah’s family was a faithful remnant supernaturally preserved through a divine deluge on the basis of divine grace (Genesis 7:23)

  • Abraham – From out of all the people on this planet God sovereignly and graciously chose Abram with whom to make an unprecedented covenant (Genesis 12:1-3)

  • Lot – Lot’s family was a faithful remnant supernaturally preserved through a divine disaster on the basis of His grace (Genesis 19:29)

  • Isaac – Abraham had two sons, but only one was sovereignly and graciously chosen as the child of the promise (Genesis 17:19)

  • Jacob – Isaac had twin sons, but only one was sovereignly and graciously chosen as the child of the promise (Genesis 28:13-15)

  • A remnant of Israel was sovereignly preserved from divine judgment following the young nation’s apostasy at Mt Sinai (Exodus 32)

  • Caleb and Joshua were the only members of the Exodus generation to enter the land of promise, following divine judgment (Numbers 14:38)

  • Elijah was reminded that the Lord had sovereignly and graciously preserved 7,000 Israelites who had not bowed a knee to Baal (1 Kings 19:18)

  • Upon the divine judgment of Assyrian conquest of Israel, the Lord sovereignly and graciously preserved a remnant from the northern tribes (Ezekiel 37:19)

  • Upon the divine judgment of Babylonian exile, the Lord sovereignly and graciously preserved a remnant from the southern tribes and oversaw their return to their land (Zechariah 8:5)

  • During the divine catastrophic judgment of the Tribulation, the Lord will sovereignly and graciously preserve a remnant (Revelation 7:4).

Let’s begin.  Please open your Bible at Romans 11:7.

Romans 11

7: What then?  What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen (Greek translation = Ekloge) obtained it (Paul is referring to both Jew and Gentile for now there is no difference – 1 Corinthians 12:13), and the rest were hardened;

The Greek word for “blinded” and “hardened” is:  Poroo meaning – to cover with thick skin, to harden by covering with a callus; to make the heart dull, to grow hard, and to lose understanding.

We understand from our study of Romans 9-10 that Paul greatly desired to communicate the Gospel to his kinsmen.  We know too from the Book of Acts that our Apostle Paul always preached God’s good news to the Jews first for this is what God intended him to do (Acts 9:15).  God would give His people every opportunity to be saved individually by His grace, and God would prove through the historical accounts in the book of Acts that the majority of the Jews would remain firm in their unbelief.  So, this book stands as an everlasting report validating the “partial blindness” or “hardened hearts” (Poroo) that has come upon national Israel.

Therefore, Israel was set aside for a time after the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7) and God is now working in this parenthetical era called the Grace Age where He is filling up the Body of Christ (His Church) with both Gentiles and Jews.  Before this the LORD God worked primarily with the nation of Israel corporately with some gentile exceptions but now God is working primarily with individual gentiles and some Jewish exceptions.

There is no longer such a thing as corporate redemption such as we find in the book of Exodus and as this pertains to God’s covenant relationship with Israel.  Under God’s Old Covenant He blessed or cursed a people according to their birth (Deuteronomy 27-28).  Under the New Covenant, God deals only with people according to the “new birth” or as individuals.    And this thought takes us back to Romans 11:1, where Paul states, “God has not rejected His people…For I too am an (individual) Israelite… (saved by grace)

Paul began his first missionary journey with the pronouncement of “blindness” on a magician and false prophet.  Paul came across a man named Barjesus in Paphos, a coastal city in the southwest of Cyprus.  He was a Jew, but not a believing Jew.  With this account God gives us a clear picture of the “partial blindness” that happened to national Israel which Paul speaks of in Romans 11. 

Please turn to the book of Acts at chapter 13.  I suggest you begin reading at verse 1 for your learning.  For the sake of time we’ll start at verse 11.

Acts 13

11:  “Now behold the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind (Poroo) and not see the sun for a time.”  And immediately a mist and a darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking those who would lead him by the hand. 

Now flip back to the book of Romans, chapter 11, at verse 25.

Romans 11

25: For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery – so that you will not be wise in your own estimation – that a partial hardening (Poroo) has happened to Israel until (when you see the word “until” in the text it relates to prophecy; it means God intends to do something in the future.  Here Scripture links the word “until” with the future event) the fullness of the Gentiles has come in;

When the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, the partial hardening (blindness) that has happened to national Israel will be lifted.  God’s Church will be raptured and sometime after this event a 7-year peace treaty will be signed between the anti-christ and the nation of Israel which triggers God’s prophetic time clock and Daniel’s 70th week.  From that moment on only 7 years of human history remain.  (Daniel 9:24-27).

If you’ve read Acts 7, Acts 13:11, and Romans 9:25 carefully, and then consider conscientiously all that God has done for national Israel, the “blindness” or “partial hardening” the Bible texts speaks of is not so much a spiritual blindness as it is Judicial Blindness imposed on Israel for her persistent rebellion and unbelief. 

Let’s go to verse 8.

8: just as it is written, “GOD GAVE THEM A SPIRIT OF STUPOR, (and) EYES TO SEE NOT AND EARS TO HEAR NOT, DOWN TO THIS VERY DAY.”  (Isaiah 6:9, 29,)



Here a spirit of stupor has been referred to as:  an attitude of deadness towards spiritual things.  Scripture has given us a word picture of men who have gathered together, sitting around comfortably (no worries), at a banquet; and it’s their very sense of comfort and safety that has brought about their ruin!  Their defenses are down and the enemy has come in.  The Jews security rested in the idea of being God’s chosen people; a great privilege indeed.  Scripture reveals that they even ate with Jehovah (Exodus 24:11, 12; Leviticus 6:16, 7:18), but this false sense of security, this national pride, caused them to stumble.  This leads us right into verse 11.

11: I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they?  May it never be!  But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them (what) jealous.

The book of Psalms is much more than beautiful songs, poetry, and prose it also contains quite a bit of prophecy and Psalms 69 is an example of this truth. 

Psalms 69 predicts the stumbling of Israel:
Psalms 69:8a – predicts the Jews would reject the Messiah
Psalms 69:8b – predicts the Messiah’s brothers would disbelieve Him

Israel has not been rejected by God.  Mark Twain once said of Israel, “All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass but he remains.  What is the secret of his immortality?”  Scripture holds the answer:  The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.  I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, And I am saved from my enemies.  (Psalms 18:2-3)

Our Apostle Paul saw the risen Lord Jesus Christ while on his way to Damascus (Acts 9:3-5).  He visited in the heavenly realms hearing and seeing things beyond our imagination which were unspeakable (2 Corinthians 12:2-4).  Paul faithfully interpreted and preached Jesus Christ’s words during the remaining years of his life.  In his missionary journeys he revealed God’s mysteries to us.  Our understanding of the church and its mission comes from Paul’s teachings.  Thus when Paul says in Romans 11:2 God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew we may accept this statement with the same authority and certainty as though God Himself delivered it. 

The O.T. Scriptures ring out loud and clear on this topic as well.  Please turn to Jeremiah 31:35.  Here the LORD God speaks of the ordinances of the sun, moon, stars, and the waves of the sea as fixed orders set by Him; then in verses 36-37 we have this:  “If this fixed order departs From before Me,” declares the LORD, “Then the offspring of Israel also will cease From being a nation before Me forever.”  Thus says the LORD, “If the heavens above can be measured And the foundations of earth searched out below, Then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel For all that they have done,” declared the LORD.

If you saw the moon in the evening sky last night, the North Star holding its celestial position, or if by chance you happened to look up this morning in the eastern sky and saw the sun rise then you know that the nation of Israel remains firmly fixed as God’s firstborn of the nations.

The reason for this may not be so obvious but God’s plan is always working; it’s never on hold.  The salvation of the nations, morally and physically, and the continuation of the human race on the earth depends on the preservation and continuance of the Jews as a Race (Acts 15:13-18; Romans 11:1-5, 11, 12, 15, 17, 23-27).

I’ll take this thought one step further because Scripture does.  The present degenerate condition of this planet and its inhabitants is owing to the fact that the Jews have lost their savior, as the salt its saltiness, and until the Jews recover their Savior this world will sink further and further into a degenerated state until Divine intervention is called for (Zechariah 12; 14:1-11; Matthew 5:13; Revelation 19:11-20:6).  

(To be continued)

© Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved

Friday, April 10, 2015

Romans by the Book (Lesson 88)

Home Bible Study ©
Established November 2008
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4

Romans by the Book                                                                    Lesson 88

New visitors are “dropping by” Home Bible Study© on a regular basis so I want to take the time to welcome them.  I’m pleased that you stopped by to see what we’re up to.  I also want to mention all those who continue to faithfully follow along with these lessons week after week and thank you for participating.

Please know when I publish these Bible lessons the current one appears first in line and then the others follow in sequence.   It may interest you to know that all the Bible lessons have been archived on this website and are available for your review.

We completed our study of Romans 10 last week and now we’re going to turn our attention to Romans 11 which deals with God’s future plan for Israel.  God has an eternal plan for His people (always has) despite what you may have heard or been told.

The majority of Christendom holds that the benevolent God is finished with Israel mainly because this is what they have heard or been taught.  Someone somewhere told these folks that when Israel cried out in unison for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ God the Father said, “You’re done” despite scriptural evidence to the contrary.

The proponents of Replacement Theology believe and teach that the church of God has “replaced” the nation of Israel in God’s eternal plan.  They say the Jews are no longer God’s chosen people and that He has no specific “future” plans for that nation.

In addition, they say all God’s prophecies concerning Israel are null and void.  All the promises God made to Israel will be fulfilled in the church, not in Israel.  They go on to say all the passages in the Bible about Israel being present at the “end” don’t mean what they say; and this includes Romans chapter 11.

However, major problems exist with their theory, such as God’s word to the contrary, the continuing existence of the Jewish people throughout the centuries, and the revival of the nation of Israel, according to prophecy, which continues to thrive today despite the constant harassment by its enemies and their allies.

Antisemitism has existed for generations.  Nations and peoples have been discussing or planning Israel’s destruction for centuries and millions of Jews have perished but don’t overlook the obvious.  They are still here and they are not going away.

In fact, when asked how he could be so certain there was a God, one theologian replied, “The Jew.”  The continued survival of the Jewish people, no matter where they may live in this world today, despite the numerous attempts to exterminate, them clearly demonstrates God’s existence, His presence in the world, and His involvement in Israel’s affairs (Isaiah 42:8-9, 43:10-13, 44:6-8, 49:3, 49:5-13).

Let’s begin.  Please open your Bible at Romans chapter 11.

Israel Is Not Cast Away

Paul often responds in his letters as if he’s answering a question from his audience and he is - just like here in verse 1.  After preaching to his brethren in chapters 9 and 10, with a sorrowful heart, rest assured that “doubt” crept in where certainty once dwelt.  His countrymen were asking, “Are we not God’s chosen people?  Has God forsaken us?”  To which Paul now responds:

Romans 11

1: I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He?  May it never be!  For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

Here our Apostle Paul answers emphatically that God has not rejected all Israelites, although, as He has pointed out in chapters 9 and 10, God has rejected most of them:

Only a remnant will be saved and Paul is saying he is included in this assembly.  By this we understand the remnant is all those who put their faith in the risen Lord Jesus Christ for their salvation.   Salvation by grace (alone) means that you and I can do  absolutely nothing to earn or merit God’s free gift of grace.  God receives the glory; no man may boast.

Here are a few O.T. Scripture passages that speak of God’s Jewish Remnant: 

Micah 7:18 - Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the (who) remnant of His possession?

Isaiah 10:21-22 – A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God.  For though your people, O Israel, may be like the sand of the sea, Only a remnant within them will return; A destruction is determined, overflowing with righteousness.

Jeremiah 50:20 – ‘In those days and at that time,’ declares the LORD, ‘search will be made for the iniquity of Israel, but there will be none; and for the sins of Judah, but they will not be found; for I will pardon those whom I leave as a remnant.’

Zechariah 8:12 – ‘For there will be peace for the seed:  the vine will yield its fruit, the land will yield its produce and the heavens will give their dew; I will cause the remnant of this people to inherit all these things.

I was wondering why Paul mentioned that he was from the tribe of Benjamin in this verse, so I dug a little deeper.  I discovered this tribe almost disappeared from among the twelve tribes of Israel because they refused to judge evil (Judges 21).   However, “almost” only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades as they say…Paul presented himself as a physical and spiritual example of God’s remnant.  This may be why he added it to his statement.

Let’s go to verse 2.

2: God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew.  Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against (rebellious) Israel? 

The Greek word for known is Ginosko (a verb) and means:  come to know, perceive, feel, to become known, understand, have knowledge of, to become acquainted with, and it’s a Jewish idiom for sexual intimacy between a man and a woman.

Here Paul defines the Israel (remnant) that God has not rejected:  His people whom He foreknew, or “You only have I known.” 

God is not speaking of knowing the intimate details of their affairs, or of pre-selecting those He wanted to preserve while casting others aside, but of the fact that to them only had He made Himself known because they were foreknown of Him; that is acquainted with Him beforehand (before the foundations of the earth).

Please turn to Amos at chapter 3.  This will give us a better idea of what Paul is saying.

Amos 3

1: Hear this word that Jehovah hath spoken against you, children of Israel, against the whole family that I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying,

2: You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore will I visit upon you all your iniquities.  (The Darby Bible)

In the preceding chapters there are a series of messages of judgment concerning the various nations surrounding Israel.  The LORD God gives a reason for each of these judgments beginning with Damascus (Amos 1:3); then Gaza (Amos 1:6); then Tyre (Amos 1:9); then Edom (Amos 1:11); then Ammon (Amos 1:13); then Moab (Amos 2:1); then Judah (Amos 2:4); ending with the northern kingdom of Israel (Amos 2:6); all of this demonstrating that the LORD God knew or had foreknowledge of their evil behavior. 

Therefore, when God says concerning Israel, “You only have I known.”  He is referring to a “fore-acquaintance” with Israel.  This foreknowledge is best described in Romans 8:29, and therefore must include the foreknowledge of the Jewish remnant, according to the election of grace. 

The Apostle Paul conveys this same message to the church at Galatia:  but now, knowing God, but rather being known by God, how do ye turn again to the weak and beggarly principles to which ye desire to be again anew in bondage?  (Galatians 4:9)  (See also Romans 8:29)

When Paul speaks of the Jewish remnant, he is contrasting Jews who believe and Jews who do not believe.  Put another way, he is saying there is a subset of true Israel within the nation of Israel.  Although Israel in its entirety is obviously the physical seed of Abraham, meaning Jewish, not every individual Jew is considered by God to be the authentic spiritual seed of Abraham as well.  For this to be true faith is required!  (See Romans 2:28-29).

Let’s move on to verse 3.


4: but what is the divine response to him?  “I HAVE KEPT (preserved) for Myself SEVEN THOUSAND MEN WHO HAVE NOT BOWED THE KNEE TO BAAL.” 
 (1 Kings 19:18)

Israel had turned away from worshipping the LORD God under King Ahab and Jezebel to worshipping the pagan god Baal.  They killed His prophets, and destroyed His altars.  In fear Elijah fled believing that he alone remained and they were seeking to kill him!

However, the LORD responded to his prayer at Mt. Horeb telling him, “Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.”  (1 Kings 19:18)

At that time in history, there were approximately 7-8 million Israelites living in the land and out of that number the LORD God preserved 7,000 faithful men.  Now that’s not very many.  By my calculations that works out to be .001%.  But as Scripture teaches us the faithful have always been low in number.  For example:  after God destroyed the population of this planet with the flood, He worked with Noah and his family; they numbered 8 people.  When the LORD called to Abram of the Caldees out of all the people on the earth, he was but one man and the remnant.  After Jesus Christ’s ascended, all of His followers were gathered together as He commanded them waiting for the promised Helper.  Although He had miraculously healed and fed thousands of people during those 3 years, even though He had taught the Scriptures to just as many, even though He had performed countless miracles, signs, and wonders before the chief priests, and elders, how many of His followers were there to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost:  At this time Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren (a gathering of about one hundred and twenty persons was there together), (Acts 1:15).  These 120 people give or take, were the remnant.

Scripture also teaches us that God chooses to accomplish His work here on earth through His remnant. Elijah is an example of this truth.  He opposed the false prophets who claimed Baal was the only god - with the people watching.  Elijah gained a great victory for the LORD on that day, and the people shouted, “The LORD, He is God; the LORD, He is God.”  (1 Kings 18:39)

Paul follows up on this thought in the next verse:

5: In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a (what) remnant according to God’s gracious choice. 

6: But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace. 

I’ve been teaching God’s Word to people of all ages for 18 years and I’ve learned a few things during that time.  One common characteristic many people share is they don’t understand God’s grace.  For example:  I worked side-by-side with a gentleman in BSF who admitted to me that he didn’t understand God’s grace or its implications and we were teaching the book of Romans that particular year.  As I’ve pointed out to you many times during this study, the book of Romans is Paul’s masterpiece on the subject of God’s Grace.  But he struggled to understand it while teaching it.  Each one of these individuals were absolutely convinced they had to do to “something,” “they needed to keep busy,” in order to earn God’s favor so as to gain salvation despite what this book says - that grace is a free gift from God. 

Therefore, I’m going to spend some time on the “ABC’s” of this subject. 

The channel of grace is Jesus Christ:  grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.  (John 1:17b; 14:6)

The instrument of grace is faith:  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is (what) the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.  (Ephesians 2:8-9)

From these two Bible passages we understand that salvation is centered on the cross and Jesus Christ’s resurrection; and God’s Grace is a free “gift.” 

If a person received salvation in exchange for doing good deeds (works), then salvation is just another word for “wages.”  If salvation is given in exchange for “benefits” bestowed, then it is merely a “reward.”  It goes without saying then, if a person received salvation as wages or as a reward, then salvation wouldn’t be a free gift but something that they were entitled to, and therefore is not Grace. 

The definition of Grace is “undeserved mercy.”  Jesus Christ died in our place; He paid a debt He did not owe so that all those who choose to believe in His death, burial, and resurrection, according to the Scriptures (plus nothing) will be saved (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).  I know it sounds too simple, but that’s it. 

It is human nature to want to “add” something to God’s plan of salvation.  There is this “sense” based on our human logic that we must do something to earn God’s favor, to be accepted, or to even be noticed by Him, so that we may gain access to His heaven. 

However, if you think like this you’re missing it just as the nation of Israel did and still are actually.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ declares that Jesus is absolutely essential for salvation, and that He is enough for salvation.  To come back and say, “Yes, I know Jesus Christ died for me, but I have to ___________ (Fill in the blank) in order to be right with God.”  Those who believe that “works” are necessary for salvation are in effect saying to God, “Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was incomplete or unsatisfactory.”  They’re saying Jesus’ final words, “It is finished” have no particular meaning as it pertains to them.  They are stripping the Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, of His deity and glorifying humanity.  They are declaring themselves to be their own savior before God the Father who sent His Son to die for their sins.   

(To be continued)

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