Being God’s Chosen Depends on Our Choice (in Relation to His Chosen Way of Salvation)
God has made a way for mankind of being delivered out of sin’s dominion and into the realm of His righteous dominion through Jesus Christ. When the Bible speaks of people being chosen by God, it is not a reference to an unconditional or statically fixed thing which cannot be altered.
The Bible so clearly, over and over, emphasizes that there is no such thing as a person who “just belongs to God” and couldn’t ever fall from His grace. Even the most powerful archangel who was closer to God than any created being was kicked out of heaven for embracing sin and rebellion against God, also taking many other angels along with him into his condemnation.
Even though many imagine themselves to experience the workings of God when they really aren’t, even if someone were to experience God’s work in their life firsthand in an extraordinary way, that would not mean that they are specially chosen by God to salvation. It would mean that they had a greater opportunity to know God and understand His will, yet such opportunity only brings greater accountability and greater damnation if that opportunity isn’t utilized. It is obvious then that many whom Jesus did miracles on went to hell (and even at least one person whom Jesus had conferred authority on to do miracles- Judas Iscariot).
God chose Israel as a nation to demonstrate His ways to the world, to establish His proper worship among, and to ultimately bring forth His Messiah through. Israel typically didn’t live up to this calling well, and this is proven by how it did not receive its own Messiah, the very incarnation of the God whom they professed to worship. Nevertheless, God did indeed work through Israel and show Himself in many ways to them throughout its history in ways He did not work among other nations. God’s own Word and His prescribed worship were committed to the nation. There was knowledge of God and experience of Him in Israel unlike there was in any other nation. An Israelite growing up in this could easily, if he or she wasn’t careful to take heed to the instructions of God’s Word, think that they were chosen by God individually since they got to be part of what was happening in Israel. Many Israelites did come to believe this. Yet this belief was dead wrong; and it’s a deadly belief. And that is why when John the Baptist came preaching repentance and preparing Israel for its Messiah, he attacked this errant and deadly false assumption head on. And it is no surprise at all that those near the center of Israel’s religious scene, and nearest to the place where God’s own prescribed worship was happening, were among those deeply affected by this errant and deadly assumption.
Matthew 3:1-12: “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias (Isaiah), saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet (fit) for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
Consider also with these things that John the Baptist also said of Jesus in John 1:29: “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
And then in relation to the Jews’ advantages as a people, we are told the following in Romans regarding the Jews as individuals.
Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
Romans 2:4-11: “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing (obeying and walking in the truth of Christ’s Gospel) seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth (that is, refuse to obey and walk in the truth of Christ’s Gospel), but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honor, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God.”
Those without the same advantages the Jews had are no means excluded from potentially having a part in the Deliverer who came through the Jews (and I say the advantages the Jews had because God’s worship ceased to be centered in Israel and the land of Israel ceased to be His special vineyard after the Jews as a whole rejected Jesus- Jesus made this clear in several places).
Romans 10:9-21: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead (this is a reference to bowing to Him and being obedient to Him as the Lord of all creation since this was testified by His resurrection), thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias (Isaiah) saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.”
If there is anyone who would seem to be a special chosen vessel of God who couldn’t have been otherwise, at least without carefully analyzing the Scriptures, it is Saul of Tarsus (who became the Apostle Paul). Jesus even called him “a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel” in Acts 9:15. So, was this an automatic, guaranteed, unconditional thing or anything along those lines? No. And Saul/Paul himself surely didn’t see it that way either. Several years later he told a king in a testimony regarding Christ’s appearance to him on the road to Damascus that he was not disobedient to the heavenly vision (Acts 26:19). Paul also spoke of Christ putting him into the ministry because He counted him faithful (1 Timothy 1:13- it was several years between Paul’s conversion to Christ and when he was sent out as an Apostle). Paul sought to be faithful to the Lord like his salvation depended on it- because it did! And he told others to take on that mindset and follow him.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27: “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (disqualified or reprobate).”
Acts 13:43: “Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes (ethnic Jews and gentiles who had converted to Judaism) followed Paul and Barnabas (they now believe after Paul preached the Gospel to them that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and want guidance and further instruction): who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.”
2 Timothy 2:10-13: “Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s (or chosen’s) sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory (since an individual being chosen by God is not unconditional and even the chosen can fall away after they’ve entered the right way and not finish the course to attain eternal glory). It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful : he cannot deny himself (His Word stands whether we believe it or not: Paul had just emphasized that if we deny Him He will deny us).”
Paul therefore didn’t presume upon God’s mercy. He knew that even a real conversion to the real Jesus isn’t enough. Real conversion is intended to lead to what Paul ended up doing. And when he was about to die, his confidence was that, by God’s grace (which he did not earn yet had to continue in obedience, and keep asking for, to continue receiving) he had been a faithful servant of Christ who had successfully overcome sin, walked in the light of God’s Word, and kept the (authentic, Biblical) Christian faith until the end. And then he applied that same requirement to everyone else (only those who fight a good fight, finish their course, and keep the faith will love Christ’s appearance).
2 Timothy 4:6-8: “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
The fact that these things are regarded as heresy by many (even by many in the evangelical realm) only prove that those who regard these things as heresy are the ones at odds with the Word of God and ought to look in the mirror when they make accusations of heresy.
Revelation 3:4-6: “Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
Revelation 22:12-20: “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
Many have been raised without a trace of authentic Christianity in their upbringing. Some may not have known anything significant of the true God beyond the general knowledge He has given to every person and the general mercies and terrors which He shows to all of mankind. But don’t let that cause you to think that being an authentic Christian in God’s grace is out of reach for you. We’ve looked at enough here to prove that is not the case. That is, not the case if you will call on the real Jesus of the Bible and do what you need to do, suffering what you need to suffer, to walk in the light of His Word.
Aaron’s email is: [email protected]