Comfort in Election

“Our weekly article in the Northport Gazette and the West Alabama Gazette”.

Watering the Tulips


““…knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance…” - 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5


The passage before us touches one of the most feared doctrines in the entire Bible.  However, Paul is approaching the doctrine of election in a very comforting fashion here.  There is probably more confusion surrounding this blessed truth than there is around most doctrines in God’s Word.  

Paul approaches the doctrine of election the way Biblical writers often approach creation – as a fact.  He takes no time explaining here what the doctrine of election is.  It is assumed, in Paul’s day, that people understood and believed that God had elected them.  If one searches church history, it will reveal that the vast majority believed the doctrine of election as recently as a century ago.  This is the way Paul approaches this subject.  

Surely, the Bible teaches that we were elected by God.  As believers in Jesus, the Bible tells us that we are “his people” and that Christ came to save us (Matthew 1:21).  As “his people”, we are declared to be given to Christ (John 6:37), “chosen” (John 15:16), “appointed to eternal life” (Acts 13:48), and “predestined” (Ephesians 1:5) – just to name a few.  If you are trusting Christ alone (Ephesians 1:12-13), this ought to be a great encouragement to you!  God had purposed to effectually save you before you were ever born!  Should we not immediately praise Him for His marvelous grace?  We could all still be “in our trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1) and walking “the course of this world” (Ephesians 2:2) had He not purposed to effectually work in our hearts.  Without doubt, He is mighty to save!

The doctrine of election is not feared because it’s taught in the Bible.  People seem to fear the doctrine because they don’t understand how to “know” they are elected.  Praise the Lord we are not left without an answer to that question.  Inspired by the Lord, Paul declares that we can “know” our “election by God” because the “gospel did not come to [us] in word only…”.  If you are trusting Christ, it is proof that you were elected.  If you are a believer, it is proof that God has worked in your life.  Perhaps you have never believed the doctrine of election.  However, our text verse proclaims that even your faith in Christ is proof that the doctrine of election is true.    

Why in the world, then, would Paul tell the Philippian jailor, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).  First of all, the doctrine of election (properly taught) does not negate human responsibility.  Man is still required to repent and believe the Gospel (Acts 17:30, Acts 20:21).  Yet, Paul knew this man’s faith was a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8-9).  As Jesus had told Peter, Paul knew these things were revealed to the jailor by the Father (Matthew 16:17).  One can easily see the doctrine of election should not be a deterrent to missionary work.  In fact, it should be an encouragement!

Child of God, take a moment and thank God for your election by Him today.  Thank Him that the Gospel came to you in power!  Thank Him immediately that He has given you spiritual life to believe and trust in Jesus alone as Savior!  Praise Him for His marvelous saving grace!

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