I ask then, Has God cast off His People? No, indeed. Why, I myself am an Israelite, of the posterity of Abraham and of the tribe of Benjamin.
God has not cast off His People whom He knew beforehand. Or are you ignorant of what Scripture says in speaking of Elijah--how he pleaded with God against Israel, saying,
"Lord, they have put Thy Prophets to death, and have overthrown Thy altars; and, now that I alone remain, they are thirsting for my blood"?
But what did God say to him in reply? "I have reserved for Myself 7,000 men who have never bent the knee to Baal."
In the same way also at the present time there has come to be a remnant whom God in His grace has selected.
But if it is in His grace that He has selected them, then His choice is no longer determined by human actions. Otherwise grace would be grace no longer.
How then does the matter stand? It stands thus. That which Israel are in earnest pursuit of, they have not obtained; but God's chosen servants have obtained it, and the rest have become hardened.
And so Scripture says, "God has given them a spirit of drowsiness--eyes to see nothing with and ears to hear nothing with--even until now."
And David says, "Let their very food become a snare and a trap to them, a stumbling-block and a retribution.
Let darkness come over their eyes that they may be unable to see, and make Thou their backs continually to stoop."