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The Remnant and God’s Long-suffering

Isaiah 19

 

God’s longsuffering, goodness, and mercy toward fallen men is the result of his love for this remnant according to the election of grace. The only thing that keeps God from destroying this world in his wrath is the fact that he has an elect remnant among the fallen sons of Adam whom he is determined to save. Is that not what we read in Isaiah 1:9?

 

“Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, [and] we should have been like unto Gomorrah.”

 

God is longsuffering with men, because he is not willing for even one of his elect to perish (2 Peter 3:9; Genesis 19:22; Matthew 24:22; Revelation 7:2-3).

            God’s longsuffering with man is no indication that he is not willing to punish sin, or that he is not able to punish sin, or that man does not deserve to be punished. God’s longsuffering with men is for the salvation of his elect. As the Holy Ghost tells us in 2 Peter 3:15, “the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation.

God’s goodness to men in general is the result of his goodness to his elect remnant, “the remnant of Jacob,” in particular. As God blessed Egypt for Joseph’s sake, and blessed the house of Obededom because the ark was there, he providentially blesses the men and women of this world for the sake of his elect remnant. If God gives power to Cyrus and riches to a pagan nation he does it for the sake of his elect remnant, whom he is determined to save (Isaiah 45:1-4).

In a word, God is merciful to men in general because he is merciful to his elect in particular. God spared Adam in the garden that he might save Abel .He spared Adam because in Adam’s loins there was the woman’s Seed and his seed, “the remnant of Jacob.” God gave Manasseh life so that he might raise up Josiah. And God spares many here for a time, and even blesses them with temporal good, that he might be merciful to his elect.

Were it not for “the remnant of Jacob” God would have destroyed the world in his wrath long ago, as he did Sodom and Gomorrah. God’s elect are truly the salt of the earth, the preservers of the whole world. As God spared Sodom for Lot’s sake, God spares the world today for his elect’s sake, that they all might be saved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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