Only A Remnant Will Be Saved

Only A Remnant Will Be Saved

Sometimes, when I read the Bible, it really is hard to understand and it sometimes strikes me as God being “unfair!” Is it bad that I say that out loud?

But when I read that “God has mercy on whomever He wills and he hardens the hearts of whomever He wills” I am initially confused and concerned. Good! That’s a good sign! But be ready to have tour paradigms exploded and challenged by eternal thinking rather than the poisoned ideology of “equity” and “fairness” we have been deluded by in this generation. “God is a big meanie” “God isn’t real because I don’t like Him” “Jesus doesn’t judge me for my choices. He loves the little children of the world.”

Why does that all strike me as the pouting tantrums of the perpetually childish? Because that’s exactly what it is. Childish and immature rantings cannot create strong and healthy societies. They only create the need for absolute control and virtue signally. Want better for your children and their future.

Look at our Lesson today from Romans 9:18-33:

Brethren, God has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens the heart of whomever he wills. You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, a man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me thus?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for beauty and another for menial use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the vessels of wrath made for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for the vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘my beloved.’” “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’” 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; for the Lord will execute his sentence upon the earth with rigor and dispatch.” And as Isaiah predicted, “if the Lord of hosts had not left us children, we would have fared like Sodom and been made like Gomorrah.” What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, righteousness through faith; but that Israel who pursued the righteousness which is based on law did not succeed in fulfilling that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it through faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone that will make men stumble, a rock that will make them fall; and he who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

God has planned all of human history to give every human, every culture, and every language an opportunity to come back to communion with our Creator through Jesus Christ. What the People of the Nation of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob missed, we who did not have the advantages of the Law to teach us have now been, by grace and mercy, offered a place in the Body of Christ, Who is the True Israel, fulfilling all the promises God made to our father Abraham. God has accomplished and brought to full harvest the seeds of His love planted in every age, language, and tribe so that No One is left as an “outsider.” In fact, the spirit of “exclusivity” and “privilege” has all been drowned in the sea of God’s love and immeasurable mercy for every person ever made! And He has done this miracle through His Son, our Lord Jesus. This reorientation towards true freedom and communion with God is NORMAL Orthodoxy!

So, what does Paul mean when he says that “only a remnant will be saved” and God hardens the hearts of whomever He will? He means that the promise of God to Abraham to make the children of God as numerous “as the sands of the sea” has come true BUT too many of those who were blessed with the head start of being formed in the Faith have either decided to take it for granted or reject it outright. But, don’t worry. Now God has thrown the doors open to the Kingdom to everyone! And this generosity has uncovered hearts that are open to His grace (the remnant) and hearts that are hardened against God EVEN in the face of His overwhelming love. And that revelation is clear for all to see. Especially as we approach the last days, the darkness will become more apparent at the same time the Light becomes more apparent. “The right answer before the awesome judgment seat of Christ” will be painfully clear in an instant in His presence.

St. David the Righteous of Thessaloniki looked like a crazy man. He was a hermit who was known for his gentleness and his piety and his love for all around him. And he spent many years in a tree! That’s right. In fact, it was an almond tree where he was exposed to the elements 24 hours a day. He lived in this tree for three years. It was a tree to the right of the monastic church and David made his home there to practice asceticism. He was inspired by the piety and serious spiritual disciplines of Old Testament saints. David was considered an angel in the flesh by the surrounding communities and his reputation extended all the way to Constantinople where the Emperor himself asked God for David’s blessing. This holy man exuded proof his heart was open to God all the days of his life and he reposed in peace in 535 AD while Justinian was Emperor.

Today is your heart turned towards God and open to His grace or is this abundant grace that flows down like a river disregarded by you in your everyday life. Is your heart hard towards God or are you a part of the “remnant” meant to be saved? A Normal Orthodox life always does the work of repentance to keep your heart soft and available to God’s grace. This mature and sober life is meant for those who truly desire it. Do you?

P.S. The image of God was faithfully preserved in you, O Father. For you took up the Cross and followed Christ. By Your actions, you taught us to look beyond the flesh for it passes, rather be concerned about the soul which is immortal. Wherefore, O Holy David, your soul rejoices with the angels.

Thanks for remembering to help us during the summer months

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