For we know, brothers loved by God, that He has chosen you. I Thess. 1:4
One of Paul’s themes in I and II Thessalonians is that the believer is chosen by God for salvation. Many read verses about being chosen and say under their breath, “Right! Doctrine of election.” What an intellectual response to something highly emotional.
The problem is, the news that we are chosen by God can fail to have the same ring in our ears as it did in the ears of the predominantly Gentile church who read his letter. The Gentiles were pinching themselves that God was offering His covenant love outside of the Jewish race. Where they had once been mostly disqualified, now they were declared worthy. Paul is so gracious as to reinforce what must be so unbelievable to them.
This subject had to be one of their tender spots; a place where they might be tempted to disbelieve the good news of the Gospel. When something appears to be too good to be true, we often write it off and believe that it is. Paul, their spiritual father, gently drives this point home lest they review the grounds of their salvation and begin to doubt God’s favor because of their Gentile origin. I wonder if, each time they read Paul’s words, they breathed out new sighs of relief.
Each of us has our tender spots; those repeated themes of our storylines that trip us up. If we’ve known abandonment, we struggle with God’s promise of companionship. If we’ve had to take care of ourselves, we distrust God’s promise of provision. If we’ve suffered a string of broken relationships, we can’t relax in God’s love. There is nothing more meaningful than a mentor who comes alongside to reinforce the beautiful messages of Christ in the very area in which we struggle. Paul is that messenger of mercy; the one who assures this Gentile church that they are God’s elect.
For any of us who were made to feel unworthy of love, undeserving of anything good, we must lift our hands from our sides and reach up to receive this good news today. Though we may never have been chosen by anyone in this world, God chose us before we were ever rejected. He chose us before our birth and still chooses us today. May Paul’s paternal words of comfort pour warm oil over the tears in our souls.
Chosen. A word that brings tears. I will praise Your love forever. Amen