THE REMNANT

1 I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

2 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? How he maketh intercession to God against Israel saying,

3 Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.

But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.

5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. ~ Romans 11:1-5

At the end of Romans 10, Paul tells us that national Israel is a disobedient and gainsaying people; that Israel has rejected the gospel even though the gospel was Israel’s sound and Israel’s words. Paul then begins chapter 11 with the question, “Has God cast away his people, whom He foreknew?”

Paul answers this question with a definitive no, and qualifies his answer by declaring that he, himself, is an Israelite: “For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. ~ 11:1

Paul then cites the remnant in Elisha’s day who had not bowed their knee to Baal to support his position, saying, “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.~ 11:5

Having already made it abundantly clear that only a remnant of Israelites would be saved (9:27), Paul continues to be true to this theme. Having expressed his great heaviness and continual sorrow of heart for his fellow Israelites according to the flesh (9:1-3). Paul states unequivocally that God’s word has not failed (9:6) because the promises of God are not fulfilled in those who are Israel according the flesh, but instead, they are fulfilled in those who are Israel according to the promise (9:6-8).

Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of IsraelNeither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be calledThat is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. ~ Romans 9:6-8

In Romans 10:1 Paul has said, “My heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved.” He does not say “that they might be restored to national prominence.”

Yet, it is national prominence, or national distinction, that so many think Paul is referring to when he says, all Israel shall be saved (Romans 11:26). Paul’s exposition in Romans 9 -11 has nothing to do with the national restoration of ethnic Israel. Instead, it has everything to do with individual salvation, and that is precisely why his focus is on the remnant that would be saved from among the hardened nation of Israel.

This is why Paul states that as an apostle to the Gentiles, one of his desires is to provoke his fellow Israelites to jealously.

For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation (jealously) them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. ~ Romans 11:13-14

There is nothing in Romans 9-11 that indicates that Paul is speaking of a national restoration of the physical nation of Israel, nor is there any thought that Paul thinks that all ethnic Jews will one day be saved.

What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? ~ Romans 9:22-24

Notice that the vessels of mercy are those who are called from among the Jews and the Gentiles. Does this then mean that God has excluded some while accepting others? Absolutely not!

National Israel, who was hardened, is the vessel of wrath. Yet within Israel there are those individuals who have obtained mercy because of their faith in God. Likewise, the nations which reject God are also vessels of wrath, but within them there are some who obtain mercy because they seek for God.

In Romans 9-11, Paul is not making a case for national Israel. Instead, Paul is showing how that in spite of Israel’s failure, the purpose of God according to election stands. It is in this regard that Paul says “God has not cast away his people?” Yet later, in verse 15, Paul does use the language of casting away (which he uses in 11:1-2) to refer to Israel in unbelief whom God has hardened.

For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? ~ 11:15

Notice that Paul refers to a casting away and a receiving again in the same verse. What exactly is he referring to? Is he talking about a regathering of an ethnic people as a covenant nation once again? No, not by any means.

Consider briefly the words of Jesus from the gospel of John:

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. ~ John 15:1-6

The casting away of which Paul speaks is a reference to hardened Jews who are cut off from the covenant family of God because the do not believe Jesus is the Messiah.

In Romans 3:3-4, Paul says the following:

3 For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?

God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

A major theme throughout Romans is God’s faithfulness. In Christ Jesus God has accomplished exactly what he always promised he would do. The promises of God have not failed due to the unbelief of hardened Jews within Israel, but rather, through Christ, God has fulfilled his promises just as he promised he would.  

On the heels of the verdict that Israel has not obeyed the gospel (chapter 10), Paul contends that God has not cast away Israel (with regards to his grace to save) because there is a remnant among them who will believe even though the nation at large has rejected the gospel.

Remember, Paul quotes Isaiah’s saying:

27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:

28 For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.

29 And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha. ~ Romans 9:27-29

Israel is not beyond the saving grace of God, even though as a nation they were cut off. There is a remnant among the people of Israel who will be saved.

I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name.

I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;

A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick;

Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine’s flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels;

Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.

Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, but will recompense, even recompense into their bosom,

Your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith the Lord, which have burned incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed me upon the hills: therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom.

Thus saith the Lord, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants’ sakes, that I may not destroy them all.

And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there. ~ Isaiah 65:1-9

 

 

ISRAEL’S NATIONAL RIGHTEOUSNESS

One of the threads in the fabric of the narrative of the story of Israel is Jewish self righteousness. Paul says of unbelieving Israel “they being ignorant of God’s righteousness and going about to establish THEIR OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:3).

God’s salvation to the Gentiles reveals to the Jew that righteousness has nothing to do with Jewish identity, which comes by the Law. Instead, righteousness comes through the grace and mercy of God.

Israel was chosen by God to bring the knowledge of the Creator to the entire world, but Israel refused to cooperate, thinking they ONLY we’re the people of God. Paul corrects this notion throughout the book of Romans. For example, in 3:29 Paul asks the following: “Is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles?” Paul then answers, “Yes of the Gentiles also…”

That God would give the Gentiles righteousness without the law (which gave the Jew his identity) was a major stumbling block for the pious within Jewry, for “how could this be, how can the uncircumcised be the people of God without being one of us?”

Israel rejected God’s righteousness because they were self centered and thought it revolved around them, rather than Him. This is the WORKS RIGHTEOUSNESS Paul is addressing in Romans, which is not merely legalism, but that which had to do with Jewish national identity.

Now, notice carefully how the apostle Paul, a born again Jew, viewed his own credentials “as a Jew” in view of the excellency of the  knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Paul says the following in Philippians 3:

(2) Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, BEWARE OF THE CONCISION.

The concision is a reference to those who boast in Jewish identity.

3 For WE ARE THE CIRCUMCISION, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and HAVE NO CONFIDENCE IN THE FLESH.

In contrast to the concision, the circumcision which worships God in the spirit, and rejoices in Christ Jesus, is a reference to those who have had their hearts circumcised through faith in Jesus Christ. Paul had chosen to boast in the circumcision of the heart rather than boast in the circumcision associated with his Jewish identity in the flesh. He had chosen to be numbered with the circumcised in heart, rather than the circumcised in the flesh. Paul says, “we have NO CONFIDENCE IN THE FLESH.”

(4) Though I might also have CONFIDENCE IN THE FLESH. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might TRUST IN THE FLESH, I more:

(5) Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;

(6) Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

Paul says of anyone who boasts in their flesh as a Jew, he could boast even more, and gives his credentials as to why he could boast after the flesh more then they.

(7) But what things were gain to me, those I counted LOSS FOR CHRIST.

(8) Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for THE EXCELLENCY OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST JESUS MY LORD: FOR WHOM I HAVE SUFFERED THE LOSS OF ALL THINGS, and do count them but dung, THAT I MAY WIN CHRIST,

(9) And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

(10) That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

(11) If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

(12) Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

(13) Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

(I4) I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Paul counted all his credentials as a Jew in the flesh as nothing so that he might seek to win Christ. Those who are boasting in the “physical identity” of the Jews, are boasting in the flesh and not in Christ Jesus! Christ is the Savior of all men.

THE BIBLICAL TITHE

Back in the late 90’s to early 2000’s, a well known minister had a “personal revelation” that the blessing poured out in Malachi 3 in connection to tithing is ideas, concepts, and insights. Yet, this revelation is foreign to the context and foreign to the entirety of the scriptures regarding the tithe.

The blessing that is referred to in Malachi 3 was God’s promise to bless the crops from which the tithe (food provision) was taken. The open windows of Heaven refer to such blessings as the rain that waters the land, causing an abundant harvest and the timely ripening of the crops. The devourer that is to be rebuked isn’t Satan, but things like pests (bugs, worms, etc.) that would come and devour the crops.

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be FOOD in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty. “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty. ~ Malachi 3:10-12 

Addressing the subject of tithing is important and needful, but it is also risky because this subject touches a nerve with a lot of people on both sides of the issue.

The disagreement between the two sides generally revolves around this question, “Is tithing a New Testament doctrine?” Though this is a valid question, it isn’t the best place to begin a discussion on tithing.

Well then, where should we begin?

We ought to begin with a working definition, a Biblical definition, of what the tithe is.  Most tithing teachers claim that the word “tithe” means “the tenth,” and applies to monetary income, but is this the Biblical definition of the tithe?

Was the tithe ever a tenth of money anywhere is scripture?

If you have ever heard anyone preach or teach on tithing, you have probably heard Malachi 3 referenced. Most tithe teachers use this as their “go-to” text, and since many sincere believers have never been taught what the biblical tithe really is, the use of Malachi 3 can be very convincing for the tithe teacher.

The truth is, many who teach that the tithe is 10% of monetary income, do so out of honest and sincere conviction. However, sincerity can be misleading if a person hasn’t taken the time to find out what the Biblical tithe actually is.

When ministers who don’t know what the Biblical tithe is, use verses such as Malachi 3 to preach a required monetary 10%, this can put people under much condemnation. Having once been a Pastor of a local church, I am not proud of the fact that I once taught tithing incorrectly. Teaching God’s people that they are robbing God if they do not give a tenth of their monetary income can, and does, put people under unnecessary and unjustified guilt. No minister should use such tactics to gain financial support.

The Book of Malachi belongs to the Old Covenant, and Malachi’s tithing statements ought to be understood in view of the definition of the tithe given in the Law of Moses.

According to the Law of Moses, the tithe was never money. According to Leviticus 27:30, 32, and 16 other scriptural texts, the tithe was always food provision from the produce inside the land of Israel, and food provision from the herds inside the land of Israel. The tithe was never a tenth of the monetary income of those who had occupations such as fishermen, tent makers, makers of linen, blacksmiths, etc.

Under the Law of Moses, there were four categories of tithes:

(1) THE LEVITICAL TITHE ~ Numbers 18:21-24; Nehemiah 10:37

The Levites were given the tithe (food provision) because they were given no land inheritance among the tribes of Israel (Deuteronomy 10:9; 12:12; 18:20-24) . It was food provision for their service in the ministry. The Levites, who received the tithe, were to give one tenth of the tithe they received to the priests, whom they served in the ministry (Num 18:25-28; Neh 10:38). The priests (who were the descendants of Aaron) were also of the tribe of Levi, and were given a tithe from the tithe, because they also were given no land inheritance like their fellow Levites who served them in the ministry.

(2) THE FESTIVAL TITHE ~ Deuteronomy 12 and 14

This tithe was to be consumed by the individual worshiper during the three yearly festivals in Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 12:1-19; 14:22-26). The following words refer to the festival tithe and shows that the tithe was not money but consumables, i.e. food.

Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year. eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and olive oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the Lord your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the Lord your God always. But if that place is too distant and you have been blessed by the Lord your God and cannot carry your tithe (because the place where the Lord will choose to put his Name is so far away), then exchange your tithe for silver, and take the silver with you and go to the place the Lord your God will choose. Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice. And do not neglect the Levites living in your towns, for they have no allotment or inheritance of their own.” ~ Deuteronomy 14:22-29 

Have you ever heard anyone who teaches monetary tithing tell the people to take their tithes and go spend it on themselves and rejoice in the presence of the Lord?

Notice in the reference above, if the tithe was too much to carry (this is a reference to food from the harvest), the tithe could be exchanged for silver (money) and then the money could be used to buy food at the feast of the Lord. This clearly shows that the tithe was not money, but food.

(3). THE TITHE FOR THE POOR 

This tithe was given to the widows, orphans, and strangers living in the land of Israel. ~ Deuteronomy 14:28, 29; 26:12, 13).

(4). THE TITHE-TAX

This tithe was tax imposed on the people when the Kings began to rule over the people of Israel. ~ 1 Samuel 8:14-17

There is absolutely no scriptural basis to say that people struggling to make ends meet are required by God to give a tenth of their income or else they’re robbing God and under a cursed.

In the book of Malachi, the prophet Malachi rebukes the backslidden priests for their many sins and among their sins was their stealing from the tithes (the food provision for the Levites). Consider the following from the book of Nehemiah, which is consistent with Malachi’s tithing statements.

Now it came to pass, when they had HEARD THE LAW that they separated from Israel all the mixed multitude. And before this, ELIASHIB THE PRIEST, having the oversight of the chamber of the house of our God, was ALLIED UNTO TOBIAH: And he had prepared for him a great chamber, where aforetime they laid the meat offerings, the frankincense, and the vessels, and THE TITHES OF THE CORN, THE NEW WINE, AND THE OIL,  which was commanded to be given to the Levites, and the singers, and the porters; and the offerings of the priests. But in all this time was not I at Jerusalem: for in the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon came I unto the king, and after certain days obtained I leave of the king: And I came to Jerusalem, and understood of the evil that ELIASHIB (the Priest) did for Tobiah, in preparing him a chamber in the courts of the house of God. AND IT GRIEVED ME SORE: therefore I cast forth all the household stuff to Tobiah out of the chamber. Then I commanded, and they cleansed the chambers: and thither brought I again the vessels of the house of God, with the meat offering and the frankincense. And I perceived that THE PORTIONS OF THE LEVITES HAD NOT BEEN GIVE TO THEM: for the Levites and the singers, that did the work, were fled everyone to his field. Then contended I with the rulers, and said, Why is the house of God forsaken? And I gathered them together, and set them in their place. Then brought all Judah THE TITHE OF THE CORN AND NEW WINE AND THE OIL unto the treasuries. And I made treasurers over the treasuries, Shelemiah the priest, and Zadok the scribe, and of the Levites, Pedaiah: and next to them was Hanan the son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah: for they were counted faithful, and their office was to distribute unto their brethren. ~ Nehemiah 13:3-13

In Malachi, God is addressing the sins of the priests who were cursed. Among their sins was that of robbing from the food provision which belonged to their servants, the Levites. It is not a statement to New Testament believers regarding their income.

Paul told the Corinthians to do the following with their money:

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”  ~ 2 Corinthians 8:7-9

Giving freely from the heart is New Testament doctrine. You may give a tenth or more if you wish. You can give as much as you desire, for you are free to give as you purpose in your heart.

You are not required by God to give 10% of your income. The Old Testament tithe was never 10% of monetary income. It was food from the crops and herds inside the holy land of Israel.

Russell Earl Kelly, a theologian on the subject of tithing, points out the following:

The argument made concerning the non-food tithing is that money was not universally available and barter from food was used for most transactions. This argument is neither biblical nor historical. Genesis alone contains money in 32 texts and the word occurs 44 times before the holy tithe is described in Leviticus 27. Gold is in Genesis 2:12. The words jewelry, gold, silver and shekel also appear often from Genesis to Deuteronomy.

Abram was very rich in silver and gold (Gen 13:2); money in the form of silver shekels paid for slaves (Gen 17:12+); Abimelech gave Abraham 1000 pieces of silver (Gen 20:16); Abraham paid 400 pieces of silver for land (Gen 23:9-16); Joseph was sold for silver pieces (Gen 37:28); slaves bought freedom (Lev 25:47-53). Court fines (Ex 21 all; 22 all), sanctuary dues (Ex 30:12+), vows (Lev 27:3-7), poll taxes (Num 3:47+), alcoholic drinks (Deu 14:26) and marriage dowries (Deu 22:29) included money.

Joseph gave Benjamin 300 pieces of silver (Gen 45:22). According to Genesis 47:15-17 food was used for barter only after money had been spent. Banking and usury laws exist in Leviticus even before tithing. Therefore the argument is false. Yet the holy contents from Leviticus to Luke never include money from non-food products and trades. (Russell Earl Kelly PHD).

Besides the use of Malachi, Abraham’s tithe to Melchisdek is one of the most often used texts to support tithing. Often, Abraham’s tithe is used to advocate the the idea that tithing is an eternal principle because Abraham tithed before the law.

Actually, Abraham’s tithe was an ancient Arab custom. Paying a tenth from the spoil of war (to the reigning or ruling King) was a customary practice in Abraham’s day. Abraham’s tithe was a special onetime tithe-tax from the spoils of war.

Russell Earl Kelly points out that under the Arab custom, the spoil-tithe tax was ten percent of the spoil. However under the Mosaic Law, the spoil-tithe tax which came from the spoils of war was only one percent and was given to the Levites and (one tenth) of that (one percent) was given to the priests.

The required tithe tax from the spoil of war under the Law of Moses, was actually less that what Abraham gave to Melchizedek.

Abraham did not give Melchisedek a tenth of his own personal wealth. In fact there is no record that Abraham gave Melchisedek anything from his personal possessions. At other times when God appeared to Abraham, Abraham offered sacrifice to God from his personal substance (Genesis 12:7-8; 13:14-18) but he did not give from his personal substance to Melchisedek. Abraham gave only that which was from the spoils of war to Melchisedek.

For more study regarding Melchisedek, I have provided a link at the end of this teaching.

Finally, we sometimes give just because we want to out of a generous heart, and other times we are prompted to by the Lord. He will bless those who give when we do it in faith and with a generous heart. I believe if Pastors would teach their congregations the biblical tithe and set the people free to just simply give from the heart, all the needs would be met. I mean, there probably would be times we’d see such a move of God everyone’s needs may get met. This happen in the early part of Acts, there was such grace in giving that everyone’s needs were met and the apostles distributed what was given as everyone had need.
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For more on the topic of New Testament giving, I have written the following teaching: Paul’s doctrine for Christian giving.

https://michaelbattle65.wordpress.com/2016/09/16/pauls-doctrine-for-christian-giving/

Also here is the link to the teaching on Melchisedek, mentioned above.

https://michaelbattle65.wordpress.com/2015/04/03/after-the-order-of-melchisedek/

HERESY & STRIFE

I once had another Christian slander me on a face book page. Even though this person doesn’t know me personally and has never had a conversation with me, he took the opportunity to write slander against me because I refuted the “Once Saved Always Saved” theology he embraced.

He cursed me up and down the country (so to speak). He called me everything from a liar, to a word of faith wolf-heretic who brings another gospel. He stalked around on my fb page and found certain ministers whose pages I had liked and slandered me because of his hatred towards them. I was guilty by association.

If he had taken time to read my posts he would have found that I am quite grounded in the Word of God. He may have disagreed with some things but it would have been evident that my faith in Jesus is genuine and true. At one point He actually pronounced a curse against me, which of course has not power. He also slandered the three people who came to my defense. he even insulted my wife, one of the godliest and Christ –like  people you will ever meet.

I became an opportunity for “his ministry” which is to expose error, yet all he did was expose his own lack of godliness. Like many who think they are called to call out error, he took a very ungodly attitude toward me and only slander came out of him.

His conduct, biblically speaking, qualifies him as a heretic even though he thinks he’s exposing heresy. His vicious attitude towards me and the others he has slandered is biblical heresy. Heresy is division rooted in carnal strife, it is not wrong theology about such things as Once Saved Always Saved.

In first Corinthians, the apostle Paul addresses the heresy within the Church at Corinth at the very outset of his epistle in 1:10-13. Then in chapter three he addresses it again when he says, “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions (or heresies), are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? (1 Corinthians 3:1-4).

Heresy is division within the body of Christ and it feasters within the carnality and unbridled lust of those who walk after the flesh. It divides rather than unites; it tears apart rather than builds up. The discernment ministries that regularly practice slander are a breeding ground for heresies. Heresy is a work of the flesh as the apostle Paul tells us in Galatians 5, where he mentions it along with selfish ambition, dissensions, and envy.

The proper way to confront error is with humility and meekness and not in pride and arrogance. The scripture tells us,”…the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 2:24-25).

The spiritual man is not one who ministers condemnation, but godly edification. If we truly want to deal with heresy, then let us do everything in our power to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace because the wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God.

We would all do well to heed the advice given to us by James:

“…if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” (James 3:14-18)

ELECTION ACCORDING TO GRACE

In Romans 9-11, Paul’s emphasis concerning the salvation of the Jews is that it is a remnant according to the election of grace and not according to race, or ethnic privilege.

Paul actually covers the entire history of the Jewish people in these 3 chapters showing that election according to grace has been God’s plan from the beginning.

In 9:6-13 he begins with the promise given to Abraham and shows how that through the calling of Abraham and his descendants, God’s plan of election according to grace is revealed.

The succession of the promise was from Abraham to Isaac, not Ishmael. It continued from Isaac to Jacob, not Esau. Though they were the physical descendants of Abraham even as Isaac and Jacob were, Ishmael and Esau were not included in the covenant of promise – the election according to grace.

In Isaac and Jacob, God reveals that the election according to grace is based on (1) promise and (2) grace.

For this is THE WORD OF PROMISE, at this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.

10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;

11 (For the children BEING NOT YET BORN, neither having done any good or evil, THAT THE PURPOSE OF GOD ACCORDING TO ELECTION might stand, NOT OF WORKS, but of him that calleth;)

12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.

Isaac and Jacob represent the promise and that which is born of the Spirit, in contrast to Ishmael and Esau who represent the flesh. Ishmael was born through Abraham’s own effort, and Esau did not esteem the blessing. 

It is therefore, a fallacy, to think that all of Abraham’s physical descendants would be heirs to the promise. Consider Romans 9:6-8:

Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For THEY ARE NOT ALL ISRAEL, WHICH ARE OF ISRAEL:  Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, they which are THE CHILDREN OF THE FLESH, these are not the children of God: but THE CHILDREN OF THE PROMISE are counted for the seed (Romans 9:6-8).

Paul makes a specific distinction between the Jews. He refers to some as “the children of the flesh” and to the others as “the children of the promise.” Thus echoing what he has previously said in chapter 4: “if THEY WHICH ARE OF THE LAW be heirs, faith is made void, and THE PROMISE made of none effect…” (Romans 4:14).

Those which are OF THE LAW, mentioned in 4:13 (above), is a reference to the same Jews of whom Paul refers in chapter 9 as the children of the flesh. Paul says unequivocally, THESE ARE NOT the children of God, and that is why he says: “they are not all Israel, which are of Israel.”

God’s true Israel consists of those who are the descendants of Abraham according to the promise, and the promise given to Abraham was that he would be the father of ALL THAT BELIEVE (Romans 4:11). Therefore it is those who are of faith who are the children of promise.

Even though they are of Israel, not all Jews are Israel according to the promise because of their unbelief. They, like unbelieving Gentiles, stumble over the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In Galatians 4:28, Paul speaking to the Gentiles who have faith in Jesus, says; “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are THE CHILDREN OF PROMISE.” In Galatians, Paul is countering the influence of the Judaizers who were attempting to make Jewish converts of the Gentiles by preaching circumcision and the Law.

Paul tells the Galatians: Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive THE PROMISE OF THE SPIRIT THROUGH FAITH (Galatians 3:13-14).

The promise of the Spirit refers to the promise God gave to Abraham.

In Galatians 3:8 Paul says, “…the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before THE GOSPEL unto Abraham, saying, in thee shall ALL NATIONS be blessed.”

God’s promise to Abraham, which Abraham believed and was justified, was the promise that would bless ALL NATIONS, and Paul declares that this is also the gospel!

In Romans 4, Paul refers to THE PROMISE as Abraham becoming THE HEIR OF THE WORLD: For the promise, that he should be the “heir of the world,” was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith (Romans 4:13).

Notice that Paul makes a distinction between “the Law” and the “righteousness of faith” with regards to this promise. God’s promise wasn’t to Abraham alone; it was to Abraham and his seed, namely, Christ.

Later in Galatians 3 Paul says: For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither JEW nor GREEK, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all ONE in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye ABRAHAM’S SEED, AND HEIRS ACCORDING TO THE PROMISE (Galatians 3:26-29).