Has God rejected his own people?
I ask, then, has God rejected his own people, the nation of Israel? Of course not! I myself am an Israelite ... It is the same today, for a few of the people of Israel have remained faithful because of God’s grace—his undeserved kindness in choosing them. And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved. So this is the situation: Most of the people of Israel have not found the favor of God they are looking for so earnestly. A few have — the ones God has chosen — but the hearts of the rest were hardened. -Romans 11:1,5-7 NLT
Once again Paul reminds us that it is not about the nation but the remnant. Not about ethnicity but about faith. Not about religion but about the Spirit of God. The apostle insists that God has not rejected Israelis but the majority, the non-remnant, have rejected Him. In the intervening verses he tell us about how the prophet Elijah felt all alone and wondered if he was the only faithful believer left. Faith can be sometimes be such a lonely remnant experience.
Some believe that the grace of God's is not available for everyone claiming that Paul is saying just that in these verses. These call such grace irresistible implying that a person does not have a choice in their response. My thinking is that these verses should be interpreted in light of divine foreknowledge. God should not be blamed for hard hearts even though he foresees them. And his love must not be blasphemed just because all do not respond to divine grace.
Thank you for the grace, love and mercy that you have shown the world. We accept these gifts again today.