A remnant is a scrap leftover from a larger thing. It could be a piece of material that’s left after making a garment or food scraps left from a delicious meal. As it pertains to Christianity, the remnant consists of those of us who hold God’s word as truth and live accordingly. In our world today, many people claim to be Christians but don’t hold the Bible as God’s inerrant truth. They encourage fellow Christians to “move ahead” and update Scripture to fit modern society. God’s word has never changed; so, to “change with the times” is altering God’s truth and is nothing less than heresy.
Not long ago, an elderly Episcopalian priest made news when he married a much younger man and said that theology needs to be updated to fit modern needs. In other words, he wants to pretend that God approves of his sin. Many un-Scriptural ideas are sneaking into our congregations, and God is mocked. Should we move forward with the times? Absolutely not. God set the rules and He doesn’t change. Christians must stand firm on God’s word.
“Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace” (Romans 11:5).
We are saved by God’s grace, but we must conform to Him, not Him to us. If we’re only a remnant few, so be it.
Scripture gives examples of what a remnant believer is, and it would be worthwhile to study those examples. The first is recorded in Genesis. After Adam’s Fall, people began to multiply and fill the earth. Satan still wanted to corrupt and destroy God’s creation, so the angels he had led in rebellion against God began mating with human women. The result of this ungodly union were Nephilim.
“And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose” (Genesis 6:1-2).
The “sons of God” are angels. These fallen angels had tainted all of creation, including the human population…all except Noah and his family. They kept themselves from the evil that was around them and were the remnant of that day. Because these eight people remained uncorrupted and true to God, they were saved from the judgment of the Flood which God sent to destroy all who were corrupted. God directed Noah to build an ark; and Noah, his family, and certain animals would be saved through the judgment of God.
God’s judgment is coming again. This would be a good time to be sure that your faith is placed in Christ Jesus for salvation and live accordingly. Be a part of the remnant who live for Jesus.
Joshua and Caleb are also examples of a remnant who stood against those who doubted God and His power. Moses had led the Israelites out of captivity, and many miracles were done by God to keep them safe. When they came to the border of the land God had promised to them, God directed Moses to send twelve men in to survey the land. They found some frightening things. For instance, it took two men to carry one cluster of grapes. The report given to Moses upon their return was that there was a problem: Nephilim were in the land. Ten of the spies were frightened and didn’t believe God would help them conquer the land.
“And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers and so we were in their sight” (Numbers 13:32-33).
Only Joshua and Caleb believed that God would help them conquer the land. Because the majority didn’t believe God, they brought condemnation upon themselves. None of them would enter the Promised Land but would wander for 40 years until all unbelievers died. Only Caleb, Joshua, and the children under 20 years of age would enter the Promised Land.
Fear hinders our faith, but at those times it’s important to remember God is all powerful and well able to take us through whatever we face. The majority feared the giants, but Caleb and Joshua were the remnant who knew God would defeat the giants; and they eventually entered into the land God had promised them.
Feeling alone and isolated can be devastating to the remnant. Isolation can cause you to compromise what you know is truth, or it can cause you to completely give up.
Elijah was a powerful prophet of God in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Two of the most evil people in the Bible ruled that nation, King Ahab and his wife Jezebel. The pagan culture in that kingdom was strong because of them, but Elijah didn’t back down from serving God Almighty. This brought persecution upon him. When he challenged the prophets of the demon god Baal and utterly defeated them, Jezebel threatened Elijah’s life. That was just too much for Elijah. He went into the wilderness, sat down under a tree, and asked the Lord to take his life. He had given up.
God had other plans, but Elijah had to come to the end of himself before he could be refreshed by the Lord. God miraculously provided food and water for him, and he traveled to a cave. There, he and the Lord talked.
“And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away” (1 Kings 19:10).
God listened, then showed Elijah that it’s important to trust God in storms, but also to see Him in the small things, like a “still small voice.” God revealed to Elijah that even though he felt as if he was the only one who didn’t bow down to the pagan practices around him, the reality was that there were more like-minded people around.
God said, “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him” (1 Kings 19:18).
God knows who does and doesn’t belong to Him, and if Elijah had been aware of the remnant, he wouldn’t have been so discouraged.
Christians today face the same troubles seen from the beginning of time. Persecution, discouragement, and the temptation to give up are realities, but we can be encouraged by men like Noah, Joshua and Caleb, and Elijah. They fought the same enemy we fight today…a spiritual enemy.
Noah and his family were the only ones who kept clear of the evil. “These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God” (Genesis 6:9). He was the remnant of his day and wasn’t corrupted by the evil happenings around him.
Caleb and Joshua did enter the Promised land, and Joshua led the fight to conquer it. He challenged people to choose to follow the Lord. “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:14). Those are the words of a man who isn’t afraid to be a remnant believer.
Elijah teaches us to trust God even if we feel alone. “So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him” (1 Kings 19:19).
Instead of isolation, Elijah found someone to mentor in God’s ways and who would carry on the battle after him. Sometimes it feels as if there are no Christians who stand firm on God’s word. It’s easy to become discouraged and give up the fight. The battle is a spiritual battle, and the weapons we need are spiritual.
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:11-13).
Put on the armour of God and don’t take it off.
We cannot rely upon our local pastor to uncompromisingly stand upon God’s truth and preach Biblically sound sermons. A sign of the times in which we live is the fact that most Christians are starving because they’re fed milk instead of meat.
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: and they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it” (Amos 8:11-12).
Where are the preachers like Peter who stood up on the day of Pentecost and boldly spoke a powerful sermon, which is recorded in Acts chapter 2? He explained exactly who Jesus Christ is, and he used the Old Testament to prove his point. Those listening were convicted and asked what to do.
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).
It’s recorded that 3,000 people repented that day and were baptized. “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and in prayers” (Acts 2:42).
We are hard pressed today to find strong preachers who call sin by its proper name…sin, who don’t sugarcoat it nor turn a blind eye to it. People want their ears tickled, and pastors are more interested in overflowing collection plates than preaching truth.
Preacher, ask yourself what angered Christ. He was never angry over the failures of sinful people, but He never said it’s OK to continue sinning. On the other hand, the religious leaders who used God for their own selfish gains were called sons of Satan. Preacher, where do you stand? If you don’t preach God’s truth from Genesis through Revelation, then you probably aren’t a part of the remnant. You’re leading your flock to destruction.
Where are the remnant few? They’re around, but sometimes hard to find. Just like God knew that there were 7,000 in Israel who didn’t bow to the pagan gods, God knows that there’s a remnant of true Christians today. We may be few and far between, but God knows who we are, and the remnant must stand strong.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at https://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos” – God breathed.
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