Reflections and Blog

The Remnant Principle

One of the statements that stuck out to me in Pastor Babij’s Sunday sermon is regarding how many people will end up holding fast to God’s truth. We might expect that, for most issues of truth in the world, the majority of people will be right and only a few people on the fringes will be in error. However, when it comes to salvation and the gospel, the sobering reality will be as Pastor Babij expressed: only a minority will believe the truth and be saved, while the majority will disbelieve and fall under God’s judgment. We could call this, “the Remnant Principle.”

Certainly, the Remnant Principle is powerfully illustrated in the experiences of Noah and Lot as well as in the rest of Scripture: out of all the people in Noah’s day, only eight persons believed God and escaped his overwhelming flood judgment (1 Pet 3:10); in Sodom and Gomorrah, an extreme minority, only three persons, were rescued from fiery destruction (Gen 19:15, 26); out of twelve spy-leaders of Israel, only two believed God and urged Israel to enter the promised land (Jos 14:6-10); in the days of Elijah, only 7,000 of of the whole northern kingdom of Israel refused to bow the knee to Baal (1 Kings 19:18); and when it comes to Israel’s ultimate eschatological future, the prophets promise that only a remnant in Israel will be saved while the rest will perish in judgment (e.g. Isa 10:21-22; 37:31-32; Zeph 3:12-13; Mal 4:1-3). Jesus, too, affirms the Remnant Principle in the Gospels (e.g. Mat 7:13-14; Lk 13:23-30).

How is the Remnant Principle specifically relevant to us on the issue of false teaching? First, we must realize the sad truth that the majority of people, including professing Christians, will not be saved. False teachers are going to find great success today, just as they have in the past. Second, as a consequence, we should not be surprised when we find ourselves in the minority, if we stand on the Bible. Even others who say they love Christ but actually follow lies will persecute us as evildoers (Jn 16:1-4). Third, we must do as Peter urges and make sure we are continually abiding in Christ and His Word (2 Pet 3:1-2). There is a reason Peter so consciously connects his warning against false teaching with an exhortation to hold fast to the Bible. Fourth, we must expect that God will vindicate himself and his people at the right time. False teachers and their followers, despite their present success and flagrant sin, will never truly get away with evil, and God will one day rescue and exalt his people. If we will persevere by faith and live holy in this present difficult age, we can expect to be found among God’s rescued remnant.

2 Peter 2:9, Then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment.

Questions to Consider:
1. Why does false teaching so frequently enjoy success, even in the church?
2. Why has God determined only to save a remnant and to judge the rest (consider Romans 9:19-24)?
3. Are you part of God’s righteous remnant? If so, how does your life contrast the life of false teachers as explained in 2 Peter 2?