This spiritual remnant is what several New Testament writers term "the elect," those who have been called and chosen by God through grace. These "elect" have received what Israel did not: spiritual redemption, salvation, a relationship with God, and so forth.
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
What is important to us here is the principle Paul extracts from the incident. The words "even so then" draw our attention to God's calling and election.
In Elijah's day, Israel was almost totally idolatrous. The prophet challenged Israel, saying "How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but Baal, then follow him" (I Kings 18:21). He contested the 450 priests of Baal, and he counted Jezebel, Israel's queen, as a personal enemy. Elijah became discouraged, feeling totally alone in fighting these battles. To encourage him, God tells him He had divinely preserved seven thousand men from idolatry, bringing them to the knowledge of the true God. He had done this, not because they were special, but solely by His influence and agency. Elijah was not even aware of them!
In like manner—even so—there is today a remnant according to the election of grace that God has reserved for Himself, not because they are special, but solely by His influence and agency. There is no indication anywhere that God chose us because we already had faith or any other redeeming quality that forced His hand to call us.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sovereignty of God: Part Seven
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Romans 11:5: