"Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.” Genesis 18:18-19 (NIV)
A lot of Christians like to talk about being chosen, or elected, by God. I've spent a lot of time listening to sermons and reading TONS of books (Bible first and foremost) on the subject, trying to understand where they are coming from. This week I read something interesting in a book that I'm studying. It's called Miracles and it's written by C. S. Lewis. Remember him - the author of the Chronicles of Narnia books? What Mr. Lewis said concerning election stunned me. It is not quite what I expected, but it is powerful - and I believe quite correct. Here's what he said:
For when we look into the Selectiveness which the Christians attribute to God we find in it none of that "favouritism" which we were afraid of. The "chosen" people are chosen not for their own sake (certainly not for their own honour or pleasure) but for the sake of the unchosen. Abraham is told that "in his seed" (the chosen nation) "all nations shall be blest." That nation has been chosen to bear a heavy burden. Their sufferings are great: but, as Isaiah recognised, their sufferings heal others. On the finally selected Woman falls the utmost depth of maternal anguish. Her Son, the incarnate God, is a "man of sorrows"; the one Man into whom Deity descended, the one Man who can be lawfully adored, is pre-eminent for suffering.
I've always believed and understood that Israel is "God's chosen people." What I didn't understand was why and for what purpose. It just seemed to me that they were more special, perhaps better than the rest of us. Or maybe that God was simply being partial. Of course, when we call God partial, we're saying that He plays favorites - which is refuted in many, many other parts of Scripture. God says He does not play favorites and He does not lie.
The Calvinistic section of Christianity would state that God has elected (or chosen) some people to be His people - those He would save on the Cross. Others, they say, are rejected and have no hope of being saved. In fact, they would say that those rejected people have been refused salvation based upon God's "hatred" of them. They base this on the verse, "Jacob I loved; Esau I hated." (Romans 9:13)
Of course, when read in context, the verse makes perfect sense. Esau did not obey God while Jacob did. When we love God and obey Him by accepting His finished work on the Cross, we enter into a rebirth and have assurance of eternal life. It's done by faith. And that brings us to the original thought on the chosen, as C. S. Lewis described.
The chosen are chosen not because God loves them more. They are not chosen because God decided to randomly save some and damn others. They are chosen for the bigger picture. They get to suffer sometimes. They get to bear burdens. They get to have an effect on those who are "not chosen." They are, in reality, chosen in order to bring God's message of love to the unsaved.
God loves all people, as the Bible clearly tells us ...... over and over again. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 (NIV)
As Christians, we are all chosen, but not out of favoritism or because we are better than others. We are chosen for a purpose. And that purpose is to spread God's love and message of Salvation through Christ to those who don't yet know Him.
It's a special task. You should feel special indeed.