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Read Introduction to 1 Thessalonians


“…knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God“


your election by God

God selected some Thessalonians for salvation. The word “election” means that God chose to select some to eternal life (Ephesians 1:4-6,11; Colossians 3:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:13). It is also true that God expects individuals to rely on Christ’s death on the cross for their salvation.

Scripture teaches both God’s responsibility and man’s response. That God decided to choose some Thessalonians for salvation is clear from the accomplishment of Paul’s team preaching among them. The gospel is no invention of man; it is a divine action coming with God’s power (Romans 1:16). God calls many, but He only elects a few.

“But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14).”

Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness…” (Titus 1:1).

We have the haughty idea that we chose God when, in reality, He took the initiative to save us.

“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies” (Romans 8:29-33).

Only God has the prerogative of election. Why would He select you or me? Only He knows. He could have done better. He could have chosen someone better looking, more brilliant or beautiful than us, but He did not. He chose us. That, we cannot understand. We may never understand it, even in eternity.

God, in His omniscience, chose you and me to be with Him for eternity. He tracked us down and brought the gospel to us. If we have nothing else for which we can thank God, we should thank Him for this. You are one of the few. Most go the broad way to destruction.

For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14).

God also calls us. “Calls” is a term of election. God calls us through the gospel. God draws us to Himself by the gospel. God uses His servants to bring His election to us.

“Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:10).

We see both the divine and the human side of salvation – God elects; human beings “obtain.” That is why we must get the gospel to people so they can respond to the ministry of the Holy Spirit to receive the gospel. Neither ministry infringes on the other. It is wrong to emphasize one without the other. We hold to both truths simultaneously. We leave it to God to resolve the difference in eternity. He will synchronize His sovereignty with our responsibility.

“…just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love…” (Ephesians 1:4).”

…who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).


Election is not a cold, impersonal doctrine.


Everyone who receives salvation is elected. We can see our election by the fruit in our lives. God is the source of anything that comes from our salvation. Election is not a cold, impersonal doctrine.

We know God elected us when we sense His drawing us to Himself. The Holy Spirit awakens a desire within us. When we realize that we cannot change ourselves on our own, our hearts draw near to God. “No one can come to me except my Father draw him.”