1. That God the Father gave a remnant unto Christ of the posterity of Adam in the covenant of redemption to be ransomed and redeemed by Him from that woe and wrath into which Adam, by his apostasy, had involved himself and all his posterity. That such a remnant was gifted unto Christ by the Father is plain from John 17, where Christ, in His prayer, frequently speaks of those who the Father gave Him (particularly verse 6): “Thine they were, and Thou gavest them Me. And they have kept Thy Word.” He promised to Him, for His encouragement in that great undertaking, that He should have “a seed to serve Him” and “see of the travail of His soul.”
2. The Lord Jesus, the eternal Son of God, in the fulness of time, took on the nature of man and, in our nature, obeyed the law and died in the room and stead of this remnant which the Father gave Him. He did not obey the law and satisfy justice for the whole world or for all men, as Arminians talk. No. But He died for a select number. Hence, He is said to “lay down His life for His sheep” and not for the goats. And, as His death, so His intercession is confined unto this remnant, as is plain from John 17.9: “I pray for them. I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou has given Me, for they are Thine.”
3. This redeemed remnant are, in God’s own time, sooner or later, under the ministry of gospel ordinances, determined, by the power and efficacy of divine grace, to close with Christ, upon the call of the gospel, and to go in to the blessed contrivance of salvation and redemption through Him. He translates them, in a day of His power, “out of darkness into His marvelous light and into the kingdom of His dear Son.” Not one of this elected remnant but shall, in due time, be brought home, for “whom He did predestinate, them He also called.”
4. God’s remnant are a holy people. They are a set of men who study to keep clean garments. They study to “purify themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord” and, therefore, are called “the people of His holiness” (Isaiah 63.18). Holiness is the design of their election, for “He hath predestinated us unto the adoption of children, that we should be holy and without blame before Him, in love.” Holiness is the design of their redemption by Christ Jesus: “He hath redeemed us from all iniquity and purified unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2.14). Holiness is the design of their effectual calling: “for God hath not called us to uncleanness, but unto holiness, and He hath saved us and called us with an holy calling.” So that, I say, God’s remnant, they are a holy remnant. – Ebenezer Erskine (1680-1754), from the sermon “God’s Little Remnant Keeping Their Garments Clean in an Evil Day” (Revelation 3.4), preached on Monday, June 3, 1714 in Strathmiglo, Scotland.