We always thank God for all of you, remembering you constantly in our prayers. We recall, in the presence of our God and Father, your work of faith, labor of love, and endurance of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, knowing your election, brothers loved by God,”
I Thessalonians 1:2-3, HCSB
If I were the devil, at the top of my agenda would be to take the really best aspects of what makes the good news — good news and get the church fighting over it. I would spoil the greatest news ever and get people splitting hairs over minute points rather than taking the good news at face value. I would take something so incredibly wonderful as God having chosen us and make it a means of splitting people up rather than encouraging them.
And that’s exactly what Satan has done. Admittedly, the doctrine of election brings up many questions, many of which we humans are not capable of understanding. Nevertheless, we can’t get away from it for the simple fact is; the term elect or chose is mentioned many times in Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments. We can’t simply ignore it (though that is exactly what many try to do). But we do so at our own peril for understanding election will provide the most amazing sense of security for the believer. No wonder Satan has thrown everything at that term so as to muddy the waters and turn people off. The end result is, a term which was meant to supply a great foundation for knowing we are loved by God, is distorted into a term that scares people and turns them off.
Paul remembers the fruit of the Thessalonians, which was evidence of their election by God. When he was with them his Gospel came very powerfully to call those he wanted. The rest of the chapter may be looked at as describing those traits of fruitfulness that are always evidence of God having called them. Far from teaching that election is an excuse for ungodly living (a charge often brought against it), Paul describes those things that gave evidence of their having been chosen by God. In the Ephesians letter, Paul makes it even clearer when he says, “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before him.” Notice how Paul connects election with holy living. Far from being an excuse for sinning, a true understanding of election is the greatest impetus for living holy lives.
Has Satan distorted this doctrine in your mind so that you just ignore it? If so, then you are missing a major means of strengthening you in the pursuit of holiness, not to mention providing the ultimate evidence of God’s love. But didn’t I freely choose Christ for myself? Yes, you did but only because he first chose you in eternity past. Yes, it does bring up questions about those not chosen which does not fall within the purview of this blog. But just for a moment, rid your mind of all fear and doubt regarding this wonderful truth of God’s word. Put your umbrella down and let the truth that God has chosen you wash over your soul. I know of nothing that will cheer the soul like the fact that God chose me unconditionally and made me his own. “We love because he first loved us.”