“As Isaiah predicted ‘unless the Lord of Hosts had left to us a very small remnant, we would have been like Sodom, and would have become like Gomorrah’.” – Rom. 9:29
Set in the context of Paul’s great exposition of the doctrine of election, and in the larger context of Paul’s theological treatise on the gospel, this verse dispels any doubt as to the primary origin and cause of the new birth. Why is anyone saved? Why is anyone a Christian? It is most certainly because the Mighty Lord of Hosts has called out by His own power a group of people for Himself.
The elect were chosen apart from any merit, or foreseen act of faith on their behalf. Salvation is not God being REACTIVE BUT PROACTIVE. God is the One who is creating the remnant! It is interesting that this verse is found first in Isaiah 1. Just a cursory reading of that chapter will give one the sense of the overwhelming depravity of humanity. This is why the term YHWH Sabaoth, or Lord of Hosts is used. The One who is mighty enough to save a people so fallen, so dead, and so helpless to save themselves MUST NECESSARILY BE A COMMANDER: AS IT WERE A GENERAL GIVING COMMANDS!
“Unless the Lord of Hosts had left us a remnant.” This is known as a necessary condition. That is to say “UNLESS THIS HAPPENS, THEN THIS WILL HAPPEN.” The necessary condition for salvation, the necessary condition for us to avoid the same fate as Sodom and Gomorrah, is that God Himself must sovereignly leave a remnant for Himself; if He doesn’t the result for all of mankind can be read as a preview in Genesis 19!
Remember what was said to interceding Abraham about these wicked cities? God promised to spare the whole place if only ten righteous could be found. How many were found? None! We are no different, and I think that’s Isaiah and Paul’s point here. The only reason that there are ten, or even one righteous person here or anywhere is because we have been granted a righteousness from Christ; an “alien” righteousness! How is that righteousness obtained? Through FAITH ALONE (Sola Fide), which faith Paul makes clear is “not of yourselves, but the gift of God.”
Any person who finds themselves among the redeemed remnant must understand that they are among that number because of the GRACE OF ELECTION, AND THAT ALONE! To Elijah Jehovah proclaimed “I have left me seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” Apart from the saving, regenerating, electing power of the Lord of Hosts, how quickly would we not all have fallen down before Baal. How soon would we not indulge in the perversion of Sodom and perish with them all. THANK GOD FOR SOVEREIGN GRACE!!