Believer, you were chosen by God to be His very own. Not everyone will answer God’s call to faith, but you did. He chose you, He offered you the right to become His son or daughter, and you seized the opportunity. So many people don’t answer. So many choose to seek redemption through other roads, by erred philosophies, or don’t seek at all and choose ignorance. But you were selected and you answered the call. In Revelation 3:20-21 Jesus said,
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.”
If you are a believer, then you answered and you sit with God on His throne as His son or daughter. You were elected, you are preferred, desired, and cherry-picked to be the cherished child of God. Though He knocks, not many answer. Some cannot muster the faith to believe such a simple truth as the Gospel. Some cannot submit their own will to His and insist on finding their own way to salvation. They won’t hear Jesus tell them, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). I have loved ones who have rejected Christ. I have loved ones who will not give in and believe that He died and resurrected to give them life. And it breaks my heart. I would do absolutely anything if it could save them. But their salvation is not up to me. I can only tell them the truth and live out the truth in my life. It is up to the Lord to call and them to answer.
Paul described this using his fellow Jews. They had been offered the truth from the beginning but most of them chose death in the law over life in Christ. His heart broke for them but he couldn’t force them to choose faith. He could only move on to those who might listen and believe. Verses 1-5 read,
I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. 4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. 5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.
Look at how passionate Paul was that the Jewish people believe. If he could have given up his own salvation for their sake, he would have. Do you love people that much? Really? Many of us are not even willing to give up a bit of comfort or pride in order to share the Gospel with someone. If we are not willing to endure a minute of awkwardness for someone I seriously doubt we would be willing to endure an eternity of torment for them. God loves the lost as much as He loves you and that love is immense. In his letter to the Ephesians Paul described God’s love like this as he prayed for them to understand it,
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:14-21).
He loves you with a love so wide, high, deep, and long that you can only even begin to fathom it through the Holy Spirit. He loves that person God is prompting you to speak to just as much. He suffered the cross for you and for her, can you suffer a little discomfort to let her hear Jesus’ knock?
If there are so many people lost, if the Jewish people had the whole thing and still didn’t believe, if the people you speak to still reject Him, then is God’s word a failure? No. Verses 6-13 read,
But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, 7 and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. 9 For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” 10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
Esau had the same parents, the same choices, even more so than Jacob. Esau was favored by Isaac. But it was Jacob who was chosen by God to become Israel. It was Jacob who answered God’s call. Does it seem unfair? Does it seem like God just threw Esau away before he was even born? It was Esau who sold his birthright to Jacob for the price of a bowl of stew (Genesis 25:29-34). He chose to give his calling away for the satisfaction of his stomach. God gave him freewill and he exercised it. Did the Lord know he would? Yes. Did the Lord want him to do it? Of course not! God doesn’t want a single one of us to choose death (Ezekiel 33:11, 1 Timothy 2:4). If Esau had chosen not to sell his birthright, Jacob still would have become Israel. God always sees to it, that those who follow Him in faith become the people we were created to become.
God is God! He created you. He created the universe. He chose your lineage. He chose you! He is Sovereign Almighty. Verses 14-18 read,
What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
It may be very difficult to understand why God didn’t simply save everyone or why He gave us freewill. But there would be no relationship in that kind of salvation. We would be mindless lemmings. We all have the freedom to choose Jesus Christ. So many don’t. God knew from before our birth, before our grandparents’ birth, and at the creation of the world who we would be and if we would choose Him. He knows if Jenny from the block will bow down and proclaim Jesus as Lord. We do not. If He chooses to harden her heart it is not because He is rejecting her, it is for a good purpose for those who have loved him and answered the call to follow Him. He knows who will choose Him. He can harden hearts, soften hearts, make breakthroughs, and build barriers. He can remove stumbling blocks and place them. He is God.
It seems unfair. It seems like He’s playing favorites. It is not He who is playing favorites, it is us! He pursues, opens, and gives. It is up to us to seek, knock, and ask. In Matthew 7:7-11 Jesus said,
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
Maybe you still find it unfair. But remember this; you are human and God is The LORD. His thoughts are not our thoughts. His ways are not our ways. He is God, His thoughts and ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). Verses 19-29 read,
You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?”21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? 25 As indeed he says in Hosea,
“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”
26 “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”
27 And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, 28 for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.” 29 And as Isaiah predicted,
“If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring,
we would have been like Sodom
and become like Gomorrah.”
The Jewish people who rejected Jesus as Messiah, made it so that the Gospel of Christ would be preached to rest of the world. God knew from the beginning that most of the world would not receive Him, He made the way from the beginning for us to be His people, His children, and His beloved bride. God did not condemn the ones who rejected Him to death, they condemned themselves by refusing to answer the call. He, being All-knowing Loving God, used their stubbornness for our good. We are not better than them. We are chosen by God. Our salvation is not from any effort of our own. It is God. God can and will save whomever He chooses. Romans 11:17-20 says it like this,
But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. 19 Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear.
There is one difference between the saved and the lost and that is in how we answered God’s call. We either answered with faith to submit to His work, or pride and choose our own work. Verses 30-33 say,
What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 as it is written,
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense;
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
Believer, you can be called Believer, Beloved, and Chosen because of God. It is His work, His call, and His love which has saved you. You didn’t do it. You only answered the door and let Him come in. Relish that blessing. Celebrate your election! Don’t be arrogant and think you’re better than anyone else because you are chosen. Look at them and realize that God loves them deeply and vastly and be the instrument He uses to call them into that relationship with Him. Give up a few moments of discomfort so they can enjoy an eternity of abundant joyful life.