Is it Evident You’ve Been Chosen?

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.”

Chosen by God

When we are chosen by God we are called (selected of God) out of our lives of sin to follow Jesus in obedience to his commands in walks of holiness and righteousness. We are called out of the world and into fellowship with God’s only begotten Son Jesus Christ. And we are called out of the world to be separate (holy, unlike, different) from the world because we are now being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ.

We can’t even come to faith in Jesus unless God the Father first draws us to Christ, i.e. unless he persuades us as to his holiness and righteousness, and of our sinfulness, and of our need to repent of (turn away from) our sins to follow Jesus in obedience. And the faith produced, if it is genuine faith, is not of our own doing, but it is a gift of God. And Jesus is the author and the perfecter of that faith, so that faith will submit to God’s will and purposes.

God chose us to be his before he even knit us together in our mother’s wombs. In his book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for us, when as yet there was none of them. He predestined us to be conformed to the image (likeness) of Jesus Christ. For he saved us and he called us to a holy calling, and he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.

[Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; Acts 5:32; Psalms 139:13-16; Rom 1:6-7; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-29; Rom 12:1-2; 1 Co 1:9; 1 Co 3:17; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15,21; Gal 5:13-21; Eph 1:3-4; Eph 2:8-10,21; Eph 5:27; Col 1:22; Col 3:12; 1 Thess 4:7; 2 Tim 1:8-9; 2 Tim 2:21; 1 Pet 1:13-16; 1 Pet 2:5-9,24; 2 Pet 1:3; Tit 2:11-14; Lu 9:23-26; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Jer 1:5,19]

Evidence We are Chosen

If we are the chosen of God there should be evidence to show that God has chosen us, especially on the basis of what we just learned with regard to what we are chosen out of and what we are chosen to. For we were predestined to be conformed to the likeness of Christ, and we are called to a holy calling, and to be holy means to be separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ.

And how did Paul describe the evidence that God had chosen the Thessalonian Christians? The gospel came to them not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. They did not just say some words after someone else, after which they were congratulated that they were now part of God’s family and that heaven was now guaranteed them and that it couldn’t be taken away from them, end of story.

For if the gospel that Jesus taught and that the New Testament apostles taught came to these people in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction, these people were crucified with Christ in death to sin, and they were raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. And they were delivered out of slavery to sin to now be slaves of God and of his righteousness.

And they became imitators of the Lord, which means that they now were followers of Jesus Christ who willingly left their lives of sin behind them to follow the Lord in obedience to his commands. Sin no longer had mastery over their lives, but now Jesus was their Lord and Master. Now they followed him in his ways and in his truth and according to his commands. It doesn’t mean they became instantly perfect, but now they were followers of Jesus.

And they received the word in much affliction, which would seem to indicate that their receiving of the gospel and of Christ as Savior and Lord of their lives involved persecution and suffering. So they were well aware of the cost of following Jesus with their lives but they followed him anyway. And they became an example to all the believers in other cities, so they were not just talking the walk, but they were walking it, in practice, in conduct.

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.”

How You Turned to God

So, they didn’t just profess faith in Jesus Christ, but they lived it, and they didn’t just live it, but they spread the message of the gospel to other places. But it wasn’t just their words that went to these other people, but it was their testimonies of how they were living what they said they believed. Awesome! And how was that faith seen in their lives? They turned to God away from their idolatry to serve the living and true God in obedience.

And this is the evidence which should be shown in our lives, too, if we have been called and chosen of God, and if we are following Jesus Christ with our lives. We should be living godly and holy lives, no longer living in sin, and no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world. And we should be examples to others in how to live the Christian life, and we should be sharing the gospel (the true gospel) with them for their salvation.

And the true gospel message is that Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. Faith in Jesus Christ, thus, involves us being crucified with Christ in death to sin and us being resurrected with Christ to walk in newness of life in him in walks of obedience to our Lord and not in the continuation of deliberate and habitual sin. For if we walk in sin, we will not inherit eternal life with God.

And then another thing. God’s grace to us is not permission to keep on sinning. God’s grace, which brings salvation, trains us to say, “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s soon return. So, if we continue in deliberate and habitual sin we must know that we will not enter God’s heavenly kingdom. So, forsake your sins and follow Jesus in obedience.

[Lu 9:23-26; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 12:1-2; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Eph 4:17-24; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:26-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; 1 Pet 2:24; Jn 15:1-11; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Tit 2:11-14]

Footprints of Jesus

Lyrics by Mary B. Slade, pub. 1871
Music by Asa B. Everett

Sweetly, Lord, have we heard Thee calling,
Come, follow Me!
And we see where Thy footprints falling
Lead us to Thee.

Though they lead o’er the cold, dark mountains,
Seeking His sheep;
Or along by Siloam’s fountains,
Helping the weak.

If they lead through the temple holy,
Preaching the Word;
Or in homes of the poor and lowly,
Serving the Lord.

If Thy way and its sorrows bearing,
We go again,
Up the slope of the hillside, bearing
Our cross of pain.

Then, at last, when on high He sees us,
Our journey done,
We will rest where the steps of Jesus
End at His throne.

Footprints of Jesus,
That make the pathway glow;
We will follow the steps of Jesus
Where’er they go.

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