Those Remaining Steadfast To Him


[This tract is a publication by SEARCHLIGHT. E-mail:]


"Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved. For the Lord will carry out His sentence on earth with speed and finality" (Romans 9:27-28).



Like so many people, from whatever national, ethnic, or social background, I have some very clear memories from my childhood days. For most of us, those childhood years were times when everything was new and interesting. No less was the case with me. The result was that I was constantly full of questions about many things. In fact, I think my constant questioning must have driven my parents to the point of exasperation.


I remember being out with my mother while she was on a shopping expedition in London. During the course of this great adventure, we went into a shop I had never been to before. My mother asked the lady shopkeeper if she had any "remnants" for sale. Of course I could not let such a juicy word as that pass without being able to understand It, so I asked with great insistence what a remnant was. That is when I came to understand a "remnant" as being the piece of cloth that was left over at the end of a roll of material. I was told that a "remnant" was often too small to make anything of substance, so it was sold off at a reduced price. My mother went on to tell me that if she had a small job to do, often a "remnant" would suffice and would cost much less than buying the same piece cut from a full roll of material. She then explained that when the "remnant" was finally made up into the finished garment, its value was restored, as you could not tell the difference between garments made from the main cloth and those made from the "remnant."


So I have always thought of a remnant as something to be prized. As I continued on my path through life, I found that this word could rightly be applied and used in many different ways.


The Bible uses several different words that express the concept of a remnant. The Hebrew words used for this are yether, "that which is left over"; she’ar, "that which remains"; sbe'rith, "a residue"; pelitah, "one who escapes"; sarid, "a survivor"; and sheruth, "one loosed from bonds." The Greek words kataleimma, leimma, and loipos also express "a remnant" or "that which is left over." So we see that this meaning of "something left over is predominant,


Though accurate, these words and meanings in themselves are still not sufficient for us to properly understand the biblical concept of a "remnant," and particularly as it affects those of the church of the living Lord Jesus in these days - neither does my childhood understanding of the meaning of "a remnant." It is rather like the old illustration of a half-empty drinking glass. If you look at it one way, it is half-empty; but if you look at it another way, it is half-full. One way implies the process of being emptied; the other way implies the process of being filled. So the way we look at things materially affects the reality of how a thing, concept, or event actually is at any given point of time.

Those Who Are Left Over

As we read through the Bible, we find many examples of people who had been left over after the execution of God's righteous judgments. We see a prime example in the account of Noah and his family together with the animals and other species that were preserved and left over in the Ark to re-populate the earth (Genesis 6:5-8; 7:1-23). Later in the book of Genesis we have the story of Lot and the little group who were saved, left remaining, out of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (18: 17-33; 19:1-29). In Genesis 45:7 we read of how God used a remnant to bring about the preservation from a most terrible famine of Jacob's family in Egypt.


Later in the account of Elijah and the 7,000 faithful followers of the Lord (1 Kings 19:17-18), we see that this remnant survived and was preserved, left over because these 7,000 out of all the others had not bowed to Baal nor had they kissed him. We must note that in each case their salvation was borne out of remaining true to the Lord their God and none other. They were survivors because the Lord's mercy had been poured out upon those who had believed and remained steadfast to Him in heart and in the righteous outworking of their lives.


Unless we understand what constitutes a remnant in a biblical and prophetic context, we are liable to be lulled into a false sense of security through misinterpreting scripture. This could cause us to become separated from the benefit of the remnant promises at the Lord's triumphal return in glory when all accounts will finally be settled.


There are many in the churches today who seem to believe that God will protect and keep them and their man-made institutions regardless of their unrighteous life styles and unbiblical church practices. This is a false sense of security, because it is not based on the reality of God's heart and ways as revealed in His word.

The Remnant And Righteousness

"This is what the Lord says: 'As a shepherd saves from the lion’s mouth only two leg bones or a piece of an ear, so will the Israelites be saved" (Amos 3:12).


This is the situation that God sent the prophet Amos to set right. Many in Israel had come to believe that simply by virtue of the fact that they were God's chosen people they would be preserved and be immune to the outpouring of God's judgments, that they would enjoy lives filled with happiness and prosperity. Through Amos, God's word graphically shattered their mistaken ideas (3 :12-15; 5:2-3, 18-20; 6:1-7; 9:1-6, 10). The reality was that God's judgment would indeed come upon Israel. God revealed through the prophet's words that only a remnant would survive and rebuild the nation (9: 8-9, 11-15). Most importantly, Amos made it clear to the people that only those who would repent and turn again to the Lord would be saved and thereby come into the promise (5 : 4-6, 14-15).


This remnant imagery is continued with Hosea also crying out God's call to repentance. Here also graphic descriptions of what the remnant may expect to enjoy in life are given (14; 1-9). As we read on, we see that particularly in the books of Amos, Hosea, Micah, and Isaiah, the same message is brought forth time and time again.


When God repeats His message, it is imperative that we listen closely and pay particular heed to His voice. God's words are never wasted; when they are repeated, it is of the utmost importance and must not be missed or misunderstood. The message is clear. Only a few would survive judgment events.

Those Remaining Steadfast To Him


Here we come to the crux of the matter. Who are those that will be left over to remain, who constitute a biblical remnant? Basically, it would appear that only those who are holding fast to the Lord in obedience - or who have truly repented and returned to rest their whole being on the Lord their God in loving obedience which comes from faith - will constitute the glorious remnant.


You see these are those who, like a piece of material, have been torn from the whole piece by the Lord's hand. But be clear; this ripping is not by the Lord's yanking them from the whole in righteous anger. As these saints have remained firm in their faith and obedience, and despite all have continued to hold fast to the Lord, His mighty hand has kept hold of them, bearing them up and through the judgment turbulence. They have been left over to remain after becoming literally torn from the whole, not by any elitist desire or arrogance but simply as the result of their holding fast to the Lord their God.


The stark reality is that the rest have ripped themselves from the remaining piece that is in the Lord's embrace through their apostasy. Apostasy simply means an individual, or whole people, falling away from God and going their own way. This includes not only the rebellious but also those who may overtly obey the scriptures yet in reality are merely worshiping a religious form and have actually lost all connection with the head. These are those who on the final day will hear the Lord's voice saying, "I never knew you. Away from Me you evildoers!" (Matthew 7:23).

Making Necessary Preparation

That was the situation in Israel's history, and it is the sad situation of many in the churches in these days. The Bible tells us that it will also be the situation in the final days. We who own the name of the Lord need to take heed to the voice of the Spirit, for it is indeed confirmed in the written word - "let him who has ears listen." Now is the time to make ourselves ready - today, this very moment - for no man knows the day or the hour, but it is clear that soon the Lord shall come in glory to close the age.


In the passage of Romans 9:25-33, Paul makes it quite clear when he quotes from Hosea and from Isaiah that the saving of a remnant from among the Jewish people was still part of the Lord's purpose for His people. There would always be a future for anyone among the covenant people who would truly turn to the Lord Jesus as their Messiah and come into salvation. For all believers today this is still the case. Outside of Christ, whether Jew or Gentile, none will constitute part of any remnant of God in this dispensation.


Since the advent of God's Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, salvation is found through Him alone. But to come into the realisation of God's remnant promises, the condition of abiding in Christ according to scriptural definition and spiritual reality is paramount. God's desire is and always has been for all, but the reality of scripture and the evidence of prophetic testimony is that there will be only a remnant constituting those who receive the fulness of the promises, including escaping all that is about to come on the earth (Luke 21:34-36).


It is not enough to merely speak Jesus' name, exercise spiritual gifts, do miracles, pastor a church, be an elder or hold another leadership position, attend church meetings, pray, wear a crucifix, sing God's praises, etc. If we are not fully yielded to Christ and walking out the fruit of our repentance in abiding unity with God through Christ, then we need to get our relationship with Him in order now. Do not delay lest when the shout is heard and the final phase of this age begins, you may be left behind as part of the larger portion that has ripped itself from the Lord's remnant that is remaining, firmly holding onto Him. The remnant will have been taken on to the greater glory with the Lord.

Praises be Lord unto Thee seated on the throne. 
Thou art eternal God on high the Lord of hosts art Thou. 
The Lord of hosts art Thou.

Lion of Judah come again, purify Your house. 
Lord we welcome Your return, come and claim Your own. 
Come and claim Your own.

Restore Your lampstand to Your house, cause its oil to flow. 
Set alight Your holy flame. Let Your Spirit reign. 
Let Your Spirit reign.

We are Your Church Lord sure and true, by truth we shall endure. 
By the strength of Your Spirit's power we with You shall reign. 
We with You shall reign.

The Lord is coming soon; He's coming back again 
To redeem the people of His Holy covenant. 
Where are the ones He is coming for? Could it be you, could it be me? 
Will it be you, will it be me?

The Lord is coming soon; He's coming back again 
To reveal the judgment of His holy covenant. 
Who will be saved in the day of fire? Could it be you, could it be me? 
Let it be YOU, let it be me.

The Lord is coming soon; He's coming back again 
To reveal the glory of His holy covenant. 
What will we see when He comes to reign? 
Glory and power for evermore.


Mike Barton (2002)