We’re going to dive in a little more deeply and theologically into the story of Elijah. Just when we think we’ve seen the last of Elijah, we find his story immersed in other’s theology. So is the case with Paul. Here Paul uses Elijah’s story as a reminder of God’s faithfulness to His people.
Throughout Romans and specifically this passage, Paul shares the Gospel over and over again. If we meander up to the end of Romans 10, Paul has been explaining that belief in Jesus is what brings us Salvation. He talks about Israel’s obstinacy against God, and their lack of understanding of God. Paul is working hard to show that there’s nothing new. The same disbelief in Elijah’s time still existed in Paul’s, and it exists in ours too. We also struggle to believe.
But the same God who was in the time of Elijah, is the God of Paul and God of you and I. He remembers His promises and will make good on them. Paul reminds his readers of Elijah’s discouragement over Baal worshipping. He was fed up. He wanted God to give up on them too. Perhaps you can relate. You’re frustrated with a situation, your community, maybe even your church and you beg for God’s justice. All the while forgetting that if God is unwilling to show them mercy, He just might also be unwilling to show my filthy heart mercy too.
Paul shows his readers the words of God back to Elijah. Elijah begs God to discipline the Baal worshiping idolaters and God assures Elijah that he’s not alone. He’s NOT the only one who hasn’t bowed down. There are others who too have remained faithful to God. 7000 of them, in fact. Paul assures the people of his time, that if God kept and protected those 7000 that He would certainly do so again. God would preserve His people. And he would choose to do so by grafting in other nations and tribes. The message is not only for Jews, it’s for Gentiles as well. Do you remember Andrew’s experience with being an advocate for Gentiles to come to Jesus? He and Paul believed the same message. It’s for you and me too. We are the remnant God promised. We are the people of God who will carry out His work and in our obedience, be used by God to do great things for His glory.
None of this is about us. God’s preservation and work has not ONE thing to do with our goodness. It had nothing to do with Paul’s or Elijah’s either. God did all He needed to do through His son, and once we genuinely believe in Him, God forever sees us through the perfection of Jesus. There’s nothing the devil can do, or that we can do to change that fact.
God is outside of time. He doesn’t see time in a line as we do. He sees lives covered by the blood of Jesus. Once we genuinely believe, forever and always after, God sees us covered by the blood of Jesus. There’s nothing we can say or do to remove that fact. Once God’s, we’re protected. And once God’s, He’s given us a purpose. Our purpose is to reflect the gift of Jesus in every way we can. It is not about earning God’s favor, it’s about reflecting God’s nature so the remnant can grow.
We could go a lot of directions with this, but I want us to sit with and think through one thing. What is the good work God has for you to do?
Will you do it knowing 100% it’s not about you and your good work, but about God and His gift to you?