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December 10 Today’s Reading: 1 Thessalonians 1-5
“Knowing, Brethren Beloved, Your Election of God”
1 Thessalonians 1:4
Everyone who reads the Bible, even casually, knows that it teaches the doctrine of election. All God’s saints rejoice in that blessed gospel doctrine. Nothing sounds sweeter in the believer’s ear than the voice of the Son of God saying, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” Yet, no mere man can open and read the Lamb’s Book of life. No mortal can ever know who the elect are until they are regenerated and called by God the Holy Spirit. However, each of us can prove our own selves. We can make our calling and election sure.
In 1 Thessalonians, the Apostle Paul, writing by Divine inspiration, tells us that he knew those men and women in the Church at Thessalonica were elect, chosen of God, and precious by five distinct marks of grace upon them. If you are numbered among God’s elect, these five marks are upon you. If I am one of the elect, these marks are upon me. There is no need for guess work about this matter. God the Holy Spirit shows us five evidences of God’s election in 1 Thessalonians chapter one.
1. God’s elect are people who hear the gospel preached and receive the gospel as it is preached in the power of God the Holy Spirit (v.5). The elect are those who are called by the effectual, irresistible power and grace of God the Holy Spirit. They are called by the Spirit through the preaching of the gospel (Romans 1:15-17; 10:13-17; 1 Corinthians 1:21-23; 15:1-3; Hebrews 4:12; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23-25). God does not save sinners by the sound of chirping birds, or by the babbling heresies of Arminian, free-will, works religion. God saves his chosen through the preaching of the gospel of his free and sovereign grace in Christ.
2. God’s elect are those who follow Christ (vv. 3, 6). Chosen sinners, when saved by the grace of God, are made disciples, followers of Christ, voluntary servants of King Jesus. Believers are not perfect, and never pretend to be. They know something of the corruption of their own hearts. Yet, in the tenor of their lives, those who are born of God follow Christ. We follow his doctrine, his example, his Word, his Spirit, and his will, as it is revealed to us by his Word and the direction of his Spirit. We follow our Savior by faith, constrained by love, and motivated by gratitude.
3. God’s elect are a people who are committed to Christ and the gospel of his grace (v.8). As the saints at Thessalonica sounded out the gospel to perishing sinners in their generation, so God’s saints today make it their business to make the gospel known for the glory of God.
4. God’s elect experience repentance and conversion by the power of his grace. When called of God, they turn from their idols to serve the living God (v.9). Believers forsake their idols and the idolatrous religious practices of their former manner of life. They are not found worshipping a false god. You do not find God’s children kneeling before a pagan deity, kissing a crucifix, or professing faith in a helpless, frustrated god, whose purpose, will, and work are prevented by man’s imaginary free-will!
5. God’s elect are waiting for Christ (v.10). Believers live upon the tiptoe of faith, looking for that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of the great God, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Believing his Word, we live in hope and expectation of the resurrection. Every child of God rejoices in God’s electing love. We rejoice, like the hymn writer of old, to say…
“Tis not that I did choose Thee, for, Lord, that could not be.
This heart would still refuse Thee, hadst Thou not chosen me.
My heart owns none before Thee, for Thy rich grace I thirst,
This knowing — If I love Thee, Thou must have loved me first!”