Paul makes it clear in Romans 3:10-18 that there are none righteous, no not one. He writes there are none who do good, no not one. There are none who seek God. The truth of humanity’s utter sinfulness is hard for all of us to digest. We do not want to believe that about ourselves. We were born in Adam and Eve’s sinful likeness after The Fall, and like them we reject God’s Word and do not believe Him.
We say that babies are born innocent. In a sense that is true for they have not done anything good or evil. But being in the corrupt likeness of Adam and Eve, when they grow up and come to the age of accountability, when the time comes for them to choose, they choose evil. Paul’s condemnation of humanity from the scriptures is absolutely true. We can argue against it all day, but there is no way around what Paul clearly writes.
From what Paul writes it is absolutely clear that if God did not intervene in the lives of His people every single human being that has lived or ever will live would choose to reject Him and come into God’s judgment. Even with being invited to God’s house and banquet (Matthew 22:1-14; Luke 14:16-24) they reject His invitation. In Jesus’ parables those who reject represent all of unbelieving Israel and all of unbelieving humanity in their natural sinfulness. It is only because God acts Himself to intervene that the servants (the Holy Spirit) bring in the lame, sick, blind, and crippled. It is only because God’s servant at His command intervenes to the point that those found on the highways and hedges are compelled to come in so that His house is full.
It is this intervention of God that is God’s preservation of the human race. He preserved the human race by saving Noah and his family through the great cataclysm of the flood. He has preserved some in Israel. And he has preserved some from every nation, tongue, tribe, and people so that His house will be full.
Loving God is a gift as told to us by Moses. It is a gift!
Moses wrote in Deuteronomy 30:6, “The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.” (NIV)
God has to circumcise the heart of man, “so that” we will love Him with all our heart, souls, and minds unto life. This is the New Covenant. The Mosaic covenant demonstrated the failure of man in regard to loving God. God was faithful, men were not faithful. Without circumcised hearts people will always resist the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51). And let’s be clear, circumcision is permanent. Any man that is circumcised can attest to that. God’s circumcision of the heart is permanent.
The New Covenant in Jesus is based on God’s faithfulness alone to preserve a people for Himself from every tongue, tribe, nation, and people. He initiates, He does everything, and He keeps us unto life. It is a permanent act by God.
In 1 Kings 19:14-18, God asked Elijah why he had come to that place, “He replied, ‘I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.’ The LORD said to him, ‘Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.’” (NIV)
So notice, the Israelites had rejected and broken the Mosaic covenant, but God had chosen to reserve seven thousand for Himself in Israel. And the mark or proof that they had been reserved was they had not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths had not kissed the false god. These I believe are part of that group that was blessed with God’s preservation, circumcising their hearts so that they would love God. I believe that all who love God have been preserved from Adam until our day.
This truth becomes clear in Isaiah 49:6, “Indeed He says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob, And to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’”
This scripture popped out at me. Notice that the Messiah’s purpose is to restore the “preserved ones” of Israel. This is exactly what Paul writes that not all of Israel are Israel (Romans 9:6-8). So according to Paul true Israel are the children of promise and those children are called (Greek: those called out = church). And Paul goes on in that chapter to demonstrate that the children of promise who are called are elected by God.
The Messiah’s purpose in Isaiah 49:6 is to be the salvation of the Gentiles also. That means election and calling includes those of us from the gentile peoples (Romans 9:24-26). In verses 27-29 we see that the remnant of Israel will be saved. And that it is God (Lord of the Sabbath) who left (preserves) a seed of Israel so they would not be completely destroyed like Sodom and Gomorrah. If he hadn’t preserved, they would be lost.
In John 11:49-52 the San Hedron (council of religious leaders in that day in Israel) were discussing Jesus.
We read, “And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, ‘You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.’ Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.”
So rather than letting all of Israel be destroyed He intervened and preserved some from all the tribes of Jacob, and Jesus would save them. And rather than letting the entire world be destroyed (all the gentile nations), He would gather (again His work) all of us (the children of God) into one body and save us. We are one body and one flock: the chosen, called, predestined, and elected for God’s purpose, pleasure, and will alone. For if He would have allowed it we would have all been destined to destruction.
Another example of there being two flocks in the world is found in John 10:14-16.
Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.’”
So Jesus has His own flock. These were given to Him by God. He will lose none of them.
He said in John 6:39, “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.” (NIV)
It is the will of God that Jesus saves all of His sheep. They know Him. They know His voice, and His sheep will follow Him. These are those preserved by God from every tongue, tribe, nation, and people on the earth (Rev 5:9). Jesus saves the entire world. They love Him because He has circumcised their hearts (Deutoronmy 30:6).
When being questioned by Pilate, Jesus says something very important in John 18:33-37:
“Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, ‘Are You the King of the Jews?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?’ Pilate answered, ‘Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?’ Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.’ Pilate therefore said to Him, ‘Are You a king then?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.’”
Jesus honestly answered that He is a king. And that He was born for the cause of bearing witness to the truth. And then He says, “Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Back in John 10:14-16 Jesus said that His sheep know His voice. We are His sheep because we were given (preserved) to Him by God. We know our Shepherd and we will follow Him when He calls us. Those who are of Jesus’ flock from the whole world are of the truth and hear His voice. They are preserved unto life. It is by grace alone that we have been saved through faith, and even faith is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9).
This is God’s preserving work among the human race to save a vast, uncountable number of people from every tongue, tribe, and nation. Without His grace and sovereignty, every single human being would have been lost. As God is love, He would not allow that to happen. Blessed is His name.