2 God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying,
Verses two to four continue the idea of the remnant. The illustration of Elijah shows that God had not rejected Israel completely because He reserved for Himself a remnant out of Israel. This is a group of true believers God chose from within the nation of Israel.
To illustrate the concept of the remnant, Paul turned to the story of Elijah and Jezebel, the second proof that God does not reject Israel. Jezebel threatened Elijah’s life, so he fled to a cave on Mount Horeb. There he complained to God about Israel’s rejection of the true prophets (1 Kg 19:10-14).
2 God has not cast away [repudiated, rejected] His people
Israel was God’s covenant people that He chose in eternity. Nothing can alter God’s unconditional covenant (contract) with Israel. Although the nation was in a state of apostasy, God reserved a remnant for Himself. Israel of Paul’s day was apostate in the sense that they rejected their Messiah. God in the face of their apostasy was faithful to His contract with them.
Je 31:37, Thus says the Lord: “If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, says the Lord.”
“His people” is the nation of Israel and not merely redeemed individuals in the nation. The remnant are the redeemed within the nation.
whom He foreknew.
Israel was God’s chosen people. This puts emphasis on the fact that God cannot reject His Israel as a nation, because He is faithful to the Abrahamic covenant. Foreknowledge is God’s unilateral choice based on the principle of grace (unconditional promise). However, an unconditional promise does not imply that the entire nation will come to the Messiah as their Savior.
Acts 2:23, Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you [Israel] have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death;
It is incredible that anyone could think that God could reject His people whom He “foreknew.” God elected Israel as His chosen people. He did not elect them on the basis of what they did or their worthiness. He chose them on the basis of who He is and His plan.
God does what He does on the basis of His person and work and not because of who and what we are.
God does not do what He does for us on the basis of our worthiness. He works according to who He is and His plan.
God’s omniscience is difficult for us to comprehend because His knowledge does not operate on time sequence. He knows everything instantly and without succession. God is above and beyond time. Man’s knowledge operates in sequence and is finite. This is why it is very difficult to correlate God’s knowledge and man’s.
There will always be some mystery with God’s foreknowledge. We can understand certain principles, however. One, God is sovereignly in control. Two, God designed that man would be a free moral agent. In God’s sovereignty He chose not to override man’s choice.
Considering man’s choice, God saw all future events at one time, all its conditions, every potential and actual occurrences. God did not give man absolute free will but only a will that would operate within His sovereign control of events and situations. These controlling factors would affect the limited decisions of man.