“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…”
The word “because” indicates the incentive for Paul’s thanksgiving: God chose the Thessalonians for salvation. Paul is thankful that God takes the initiative in salvation. His thanksgiving centers on what God does, not man.
God from the beginning [firstfruits]
The word “beginning,” primarily, denotes an offering of firstfruits–”God chose you as firstfruits.” This referred to setting aside the first portion of something and offering it to God before using the rest. The “firstfruits” were the first of a set. The New Testament uses this word for foretaste, pledge, and pledge of blessing to come. Our salvation has an eternal date. God chose us from eternity. The origin of our salvation began in eternity past.
God chose us for Himself. The word “chose” means to take or pick. God picked the Thessalonians, not because of any merit on their part, but because of His sheer, unadulterated grace. We do not initiate salvation. God does all the initiating. He loved the Thessalonians based on His character. He loved them because of who He was, not who they were.
The New Testament uses this Greek word for “chose” only three times in the New Testament (Philippians 1:22; Hebrews 11:25). The other two times, it is a person who does the choosing. This is the only usage whereby God is the chooser. God selects certain people for Himself; they are God’s aristocracy. These are His privileged people.
God chose us for a reason known only to Himself.
Why did God select you? Why are you so special? He could have selected someone smarter and with better qualities of character, but He didn’t. He chose you. God chose a rascal like you. As God went over the list of those whom He would choose, He did not bypass you; He picked you out from a number of people.
God never explains why He chooses some and not others. This is especially difficult when we think of some of the scoundrels He does choose. “Why did God spare my life in that accident? He spared me because He wanted to save my soul.” God takes great interest in you. He shows enormous concern for you.
God did not choose us because He knew beforehand that we would receive Christ. He chose us then He foreknew. As human beings, we cannot know that something will happen unless we choose that it is going to happen.
“…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).
”No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44).