3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.”
4 But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”
5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.
6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. – Romans 11:3-6
The quote Paul uses here is taken from 1 Kings 19:10. Elijah had just seen the Lord give a fantastic victory over the prophets of Baal and the Lord sent rain when Elijah prayed. But, Jezebel had threatened to kill him and Elijah fled. He felt alone, abandoned and afraid. But God met him where he was at and gave him reassurance. God revealed that He had a remnant among His people who had not given themselves to worship Baal. Paul mentioned the idea is the remnant earlier in this letter:
27 And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved,
28 for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.”
29 And as Isaiah predicted, “If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring, we would have been like Sodom and become like Gomorrah.” – Romans 9:27-29
It is a sad fact that a huge number of the people God created will reject Him. Biblical history shows many examples of small quantities of people being saved in times of judgment: Noah had 7 other people come into the ark when anyone could have joined him; Lot and his family were the only survivors from Sodom and Gomorrah.
And yet it is God’s desire that all might be saved:
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. – John 3:17
But there is a dilemma. The human attitude that I deserve something. We are taught from a young age that if we are good we get rewarded and if we are bad we get punished. This is a fact of life. But, it is not the way God beings us to salvation. We do not get what we earn and deserve but we believe and receive to become part of the Kingdom of God:
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. – Ephesians 2:8-9
A lot of people do not want to admit that they need to change. They remain proud and arrogant thinking they can do it their way. But, no one is good enough to get to heaven. We can not earn or deserve our way into the Kingdom. It is by grace that we can believe in the Lord Jesus and receive eternal life as a gift. At this present time there is a remnant that are saved by grace. Our works can not save us, we do not earn or deserve salvation but by grace we can believe and receive.
To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” – Acts 10:43
For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. – John 17:8
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, – John 1:12