Rom. 11:5-6 “So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.”
Those who remain from the visible church, the remnant—for not all in Israel, or in the church, are actually Children of God—have been chosen by grace. That is, there was no merit in them, no outstanding characteristic or quality to naturally attract God to them.
He did not choose them for being wise, powerful, or strong (1 Cor. 1:26-29). He did not choose them because of their superior righteousness (Rom. 3:23).
No, it was of grace, by grace and for grace that they, we his children, were chosen. Chosen by grace.
And since he merely chose us in love by grace to be his, it was never on the basis of works. Had it ever been on the basis of our works, our merit, our performance, then it could not have been by grace. We must either be chosen by works or chosen by grace. We are chosen by grace.
The world, even the church, sadly, never chooses by grace. It is not grace but merit that allows one to make it in sports, business, academia, the arts, or even the church.
We live in a world of merit with a faith of grace. It is no wonder that we struggle to marry the two in our hearts. We feel as if our standing with God, his moment-by-moment view of us, relies on our works, how well we do in our service to him.
We constantly judge our peace with God, our walk with him, by performance related metrics. “Have I read my Bible enough, have I prayed enough, is my tithing adequate, is my witness effective, my church attendance regular, my worship enthusiastic?”
Pastors add to those merit categories others: “Has my church grown enough, have I led enough to Christ, are people growing enough under my ministry?”
Chosen by grace we tend to live before God—at least in our own minds—based on works.
What a sad and difficult life that is! Like the Galatians we began with grace but continue by human effort. “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3).
Rather, let us live within the very grace by which we were chosen. Let us know that God’s appraisal of us, at this very moment, is one of grace. As he said of his Son, he says of us: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22).
Let us evaluate our service to him within his grace, as all our efforts are received by him, not first by their merit, but by his grace.
Let us see one another, too, through eyes of grace, accepting those without merit to commend themselves, as brothers and sisters, full of his grace!
Let us see our days, ourselves, our works, our standing, all by grace, for it cannot be rightly calculated in any other way.
Lord, help me believe that this which seems too good to be true, is true, that you have chosen me by grace so that I live in grace before you. Lord, let me know the joy of living by grace!