The Chosen of God
1 Thessalonians 1:4-7
“For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.”
Those who are God’s chosen are the elect of God, those God predestined to be his before he even laid the foundations of the earth. But then the Scriptures also teach that we must believe in him. And the Bible teaches that God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. And Jesus died once for all, not just for a few.
Nonetheless, not one of us can come to faith in Jesus Christ unless the Father first draws us to Christ, unless he first persuades us as to his holiness and righteousness and of our sinfulness, and of what he did for us on that cross, and of our need to repent of our sins, and to be reborn of the Spirit of God, and to walk in newness of life in him in obedience to his commands.
Even the faith to believe in Jesus is a gift of God, but one we must appropriate to our lives. For Jesus is the author and the perfecter of our faith, and this is not of ourselves lest we should boast. Therefore, those who believe in Jesus do not do so of their own flesh, but of the Spirit, and thus they will die with Christ to sin and live to him and to his righteousness.
So, we have to be chosen of God to become one of his. And we have to be drawn to Jesus Christ via God the Father or we can’t come to faith in Jesus Christ. And our salvation and our faith are of God, and not of ourselves. And yet we are commanded to believe on him. And the message of the gospel is to go out to everyone.
[Rom 8:1-29; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Eph 1:3-4; Jn 1:12; Jn 5:24; Rom 1:18-32; Mk 1:15; 2 Pet 3:9; 1 Jn 2:2; Jn 3:16; Heb 10:10; 2 Co 5:15; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 2 Pet 1:1; Lu 9:23-26; Eph 4:17-24; Rom 6:1-23]
Your Faith in God
1 Thessalonians 1:8-10
“For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”
Being chosen of God does not mean he does it all and we sit back and do nothing. For faith involves action to show that it is genuine faith. They received the word, they became imitators of the apostles and of the Lord, they became an example to other believers, they spread the word of the gospel, they turned from their idols to God, and they served the living and the true God – all actions proving that their faith was genuine.
So, just because God chooses some of us, and just because he gifts us with the faith to believe in Jesus Christ, it doesn’t mean nothing is required of us. The New Testament is filled with instructions to those professing faith in Jesus Christ. And the Lord empowers those who are his to do what he commands us to do, too, so that it isn’t us doing it in our flesh, but it is God working in us as we cooperate and join in with him in that work.
For, Jesus said that if anyone would come after him he must deny self, take up his cross daily (daily die with Christ to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. He said if we save our lives (if we hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self) that we will lose them for eternity. But if we lose our lives for the sake of Jesus (if we daily die with Christ to sin), we will have life eternal.
And Paul taught the same. He said that through faith in Jesus Christ we die with Christ to sin. He said our old self was crucified with Christ so that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin, so that sin would no longer have dominion over us, but so we would now become slaves of God and of his righteousness.
And he taught that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who WALK (in conduct, in practice) not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, which to do so is death. And if our minds are set on the flesh, we are hostile to God, for we do not submit to God’s law, and therefore we cannot please God.
And if we sow to please our flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction, but if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life. So, it is critical to our salvation and to our eternal life with God that we sow to please the Spirit and not the flesh, that we walk according to the Spirit, and not according to the flesh, and that we die daily with Christ to sin and to self and that we follow our Lord Jesus in obedience to his commands.
And Paul taught that we are to no longer live like we did when we were among the ungodly, giving ourselves up to sensuality and greedy to practice every kind of impurity. He said that the truth that is in Christ Jesus is “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (See Eph 4:17-24).
So, again, chosen of God does not mean you can live however you want and still have salvation from sin and eternal life with God. Who or who is not chosen should be evidenced by how we live our lives. Now, I am not saying that one who is chosen can never fail God, but that there should be evidence, as Paul described in the beginning of this letter, that one is chosen of God. And that is evidenced by our actions which are a result of God’s work of grace in our lives and of our partnership with him in his work.
All glory, praise, and honor to God and to God alone! Great things He has done!
Angels We Have Heard on High
Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains
And the mountains in reply
Echo back their joyous strains
Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
Say what may the tidings be
Which inspire your heavenly song?
Come to Bethlehem and see
Him whose birth the angels sing,
Come, adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord, the newborn King.
Gloria, in excelsis Deo
Gloria, in excelsis Deo
Caution: This link may contain ads
(Matt and Savannah Shaw, father-daughter duet)