What does it mean to be chosen by God
Being chosen by God is a profound and humbling concept. As finite human beings, we may never fully comprehend the mind and purposes of our infinite Creator. However, through Scripture and the leading of the Holy Spirit, we can grasp glimpses of what it means to be singled out by the Almighty for His divine plans.
The biblical concept of being chosen
The idea of being “chosen” permeates the Bible. From Abraham to Moses to Mary, God selected certain people to participate uniquely in His works. As illustrated in Scripture, being chosen by God is an undeserved gift, not something we earn or deserve. It also carries great responsibility and purpose.
Old Testament examples of being chosen
In the Old Testament, we see God choosing individuals and even entire nations to fulfill His purposes. For example:
- Abraham – God sovereignly chose Abraham from among all the people on earth to be the father of His chosen people, saying “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you” (Genesis 12:2). The rest of the Bible flows directly from God’s selection of Abraham.
- Moses – God chose Moses to confront Pharaoh, lead His people out of Egypt, and deliver the Law. Scripture says, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out…So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:7,10).
- Israel – God refers to ancient Israel as “my chosen people” (Isaiah 45:4) because He singled them out from all the nations of the earth to have a special relationship with Him, receive the covenants, promises and the Messiah, and demonstrate His glory to the world.
In these and other examples, God’s sovereign choice initiated His relationship and plan for His chosen servants. Their selection brought responsibility, suffering, and trials, in addition to blessings and honor.
New Testament chosenness in Christ
The New Testament builds upon God’s choosing work from the Old Testament era. However, Jesus Christ is now the ultimate Chosen One and redeeming focal point.
God’s desire now is to choose, call, justify, and glorify an entire people in Christ – the church – through the redemptive work of the cross. For example:
- Christ Himself is called the “Chosen One” because the Father appointed Him to save sinners (Luke 23:35). Now all who are “in Christ” share in His chosenness.
- The church is described as “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession” (1 Peter 2:9). This chosen status is not based on any merit of our own, but only because of the grace given to us through Christ.
- In Christ, concepts like election and predestination take on new meaning that revolves around our union with the Savior. Ephesians 1 talks about the church being chosen “in Him” and “for Him” through the plan and by the power of God Himself working through Christ (Ephesians 1:4, 11).
So while God still sovereignly calls individuals for specific missions in redeeming the world, His overarching model of choosing now relates to the church corporately as the body of Christ. Our chosen identity is secured by virtue of being united to Jesus by faith.
Insights on being selected by God
What insights does Scripture reveal about God’s reasons, methods, and aims in choosing people? Recognizing a few key principles can aid our understanding:
Being chosen magnifies God’s grace
- We did not and cannot earn favored status with God. As Paul wrote, “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world…He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace…so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 1:4-6).
Being chosen exalts God’s wisdom
- Foolish human wisdom would never conceive of God’s salvation plan centered on the sacrifice of His Son. But God’s foolishness is wiser than our wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:25). His methods often confound the world’s values so that He gets all the glory.
Being chosen issues from God’s sovereignty
- The Almighty reigns supreme over all things. Nothing frustrates His purposes. As Psalm 115:3 states, “Our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.” God chooses people according to the perfect counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11).
Being chosen obliges us to humble obedience
- Chosenness is not about personal superiority. Rather, it compels us to bow lower to carry out our Master’s will. Esther realized her selection as queen obliged her to risk her life for her people (Esther 4:14). Mary accepted her choice as Christ’s mother despite not understanding everything it entailed (Luke 1:38).
What it means for followers of Christ today
We see then that being singled out by God is a weighty concept with profound implications. For Christians today, what exactly does it mean to be among God’s “chosen ones?”
Chosen for holiness and eternal life
On the most basic level, Scripture explains that if we have trusted in Jesus Christ as Savior, then we are chosen by God for salvation from sin. We are predestined for holiness and blamelessness before God (Ephesians 1:4) and sealed for eternal redemption through Christ’s blood (Ephesians 1:7). This undeserved salvation ought to inspire endless praise and gratitude for God’s grace.
Chosen for purpose and good works
In addition to securing our eternal position before Him, God also chooses believers to accomplish His works here on earth through the power of the Spirit. As His chosen instruments, we carry on the ministry of reconciliation and spreading the message of salvation (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). Our selection also bears fruit in the good works He has prepared for us (Ephesians 2:10). Even seemingly mundane tasks take on spiritual significance since whatever we do is to be for God’s glory.
Chosen for representing Christ
As God’s special people, we have been appointed to proclaim the excellencies of Christ before all nations (1 Peter 2:9). Like divine ambassadors, we represent the interests of heaven to a lost world through our words, attitudes, and lifestyles. Our chosen state also brings persecution because the world hated Christ first. Still, God uses opposition and suffering to spread His gospel and likeness through us.
Chosen for intimacy with Christ
Beyond external works, at the deepest level being chosen means we are ushered into the closest possible relationship with Jesus Christ – a oneness of spirit. As John 17:20-23 declares, we share in the loving intimacy between the Father and the Son through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Every spiritual blessing stemming from our union with Him becomes ours. Now adopted into His family (Ephesians 1:5), we relate to Him as our beloved Brother, Friend, Savior and King.
Responding to the divine choosing
Confronted by the wonders of God’s gracious choice described in Scripture, we may still have many questions. However, the healthiest posture is not demanding answers from God but responding in faith to what He has revealed about election and predestination. Here are some helpful responses:
Worship the Chooser over the choice itself
Rather than fixating on our status as the “chosen ones,” we ought to exalt the Chooser – praising God for His glorious grace and wisdom. Being chosen is not about us but about Him and placing His supreme worth on display.
Rest in the assurance of God’s unbreakable purpose
Because salvation depends fully on God’s decisive choice, we can have undiminished confidence in the eternal security of belonging to Him. He will complete the good work begun in His elect (Philippians 1:6).
Express gratitude through obedience and godly living
We demonstrating thankfulness for being chosen by presenting our entire selves as living sacrifices to God (Romans 12:1). Such wholehearted obedience provides tangible proof of His transforming grace.
Extend grace to others
Those who have been touched by God’s undeserved favor in election should freely extend that same grace to fellow believers – and even unbelievers. Freely we have received grace; freely we give it.
Renew our sense of responsibility
Being chosen for special duty to God is no excuse for pride or presumption. Rather, we must humbly rely on His power to live worthy of our calling – denying self, picking up our crosses and following Christ with utmost devotion as His servants.
The wonder of God’s choices in redemptive history – especially in singling out those who would be “in Christ” through faith – provides infinite fuel for worship. By His mercy, we finite creatures can only begin to grasp the extent of the spiritual riches that flow from our Heavenly Father choosing lowly adopted sons and daughters to bear the name of His only begotten Son throughout eternity. May Divine chosenness produce profound humility, holiness, gratitude and spiritual fruitfulness until we behold the Chooser face to face in eternal glory!