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Romans 11:5-6

The Election of Grace

5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.


Paul wrote that, just as God had mercifully saved a remnant of seven thousand men from the temptation of idolatry and from the persecution of Ahab and Jezebel, he has also saved a remnant of Jews at the present time. Most of the nation of Israel had rejected their Messiah and were condemned by their unbelief, but God had chosen a remnant for Himself.

The emphasis in this passage is on the words, "according to the election of grace." By "election" Paul means to say that they were chosen by God. The remnant was no different from any of the other Jews who had rejected Christ, but by the sovereignty of God they were chosen to be His people. Through the regeneration of God's Holy Spirit they were enlightened to the truth and set free from their previous beliefs and sins, which had blinded them. These are the Jews who believed in Jesus and who were added to the church.

The election of grace is an unmerited favor bestowed on sinners by a sovereign God. How much more precious is our salvation when we know that it is only acquired by God's mercy, love, and special choosing. Left to our own resources, we would be condemned for eternity, a fate which we have rightfully deserved.

"And if by grace, then is it no more of works:" Paul inserted this phrase and the rest of this verse to show that the Jewish belief that one must earn God's favor by obedience to the law is contrary to the doctrine of grace. Grace is a free gift. "Otherwise grace is no more grace." Then how can it be earned by works? It would no longer be free nor considered to be a gift.

"But if it be of works, then is it no more grace:" If it were possible to earn our salvation, God would be indebted to us. The laborer deserves the wages earned and agreed upon. His employer is obligated to pay, and that which is paid is certainly not a free and unmerited gift.

"Otherwise work is no more work." Men who are paid for doing nothing cannot say that they have worked for their wages. Work is not work when the wages are paid without merit or the expectation of any kind of reciprocation.

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9) Grace eliminates the right of men to boast of his own righteousness. There is none righteous but God and only He can bestow His righteousness on another. Grace is free but it is not given to everyone. Most men will receive the judgment that they rightfully deserve. Many are called to follow Christ but only a few are chosen. These are referred to as "the elect of God."

Before The Throne:

Has God chosen you to be a follower of Christ? You do not deserve the privilege, so worship Him and give thanks daily. Ask His forgiveness, if you have ever boasted about your own righteousness or have ever judged others for their sins. Acknowledge that you are a sinner just like others but saved by God's sovereign grace. Seek God's face and ask, "Why?" What is His purpose for choosing you? What does He want you to do with your life?

For Further Study:

(v.5) ** at this present. Rom 9:27; election of grace. Rom 9:11; Eph 1:5-6;

(v.6) ** And if. Rom 3:27-28; Rom 4:4-5; Rom 5:20-21; Deut 9:4-6; 1Cor 15:10; Gal 2:21; Gal 5:4; Eph 2:4-9; 2Tim 1:9; Titus 3:5;

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