Chosen, therefore Comforted, Assured and Free
It usually feels good to be chosen. Unless of course you're being chosen for something you do not want to be chosen for. It feels good to be chosen to play on someone's team. It feels good to be chosen for an important job or role. There are other things people aren't necessarily standing in line to be chosen for. Back in the day most people wouldn't have wanted to be chosen to face Goliath. You don't want to be chosen to pick up the throw up on aisle five. No one wants to draw the short straw.
Now when it comes to what Peter speaks of in 1 Peter 1:1, he wastes no time saying that he is writing to the "elect". He is referring to those chosen by God before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4). He is speaking of the operation of God's sovereign grace in salvation. Instantly we are thrown into the deep end of the pool and we must trust what God says more than what we think or what we have always figured "elect" means.
I am often puzzled by why some Christians seem to be so afraid of the doctrine of election. We are not talking Hunger Games here, we're talking about something really really good that you are chosen for. We are talking about Almighty God and His work of saving lost, dead sinners. It should not be a cause for fear or denial or objection but of eager acceptance and great comfort. And that is what I want to talk about here for a few moments: Why believers in Jesus Christ should not be afraid of the doctrine of election. Why we should be very glad that God chose us to be His own. Obviously, this is for the home team, this is for those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work alone for salvation.
The first reason why we should be very glad that God chose us, that we are numbered among the "elect", is because it gives us great comfort. We should be very comforted by the fact that our salvation is not dependent upon us. Our salvation is a monergistic or God-centered salvation. That means God gets the full credit because he did all the work. We are not the determiners of our eternal destiny. If you look through the New Testament what you will see with regard to election is that it is always spoken of in terms of bringing comfort to believers. It is not a weapon, bragging rights, or any humanly sinfully tinged thing. It is something God says to comfort our hearts in times of anguish and persecution and hardship. Jesus made it clear that life would not be a bed of roses here on earth. Believers should expect to endure persecution for the sake of Jesus and the Gospel. So as we sojourn here on earth, looking to our eternal home in heaven, we take great comfort in knowing that our salvation does not depend on us.
A second reason why believers should be very glad about election is because it gives us assurance. Comfort makes you feel better. Assurance gives you confidence. In the midst of a tough life here and of representing Christ to an often openly hostile world, Jesus wants us to move out not in fear but with confidence that He is in sovereign control of the process. God is the one who chose us and drew us to Himself, and He is the one who will grow us and bring us safely home to heaven. What assurance of salvation and of God's sovereign oversight of all things gives us is a deep sense of what we already have in Christ: security. It saddens me to know that there are many Christians who have security in Christ but lack the assurance of that security. God wants you to know and rest in the knowledge that you are safe in Him forever.
One last reason I'd like to share is that election gives the elect great freedom as they serve the Lord Jesus Christ. God gives us comfort, assurance, and also great freedom to do but we are called to do. We who are in Christ are indwelt by the Holy Spirit who sanctifies us. He is making us more like Jesus. We have been freed from sin's power and penalty are free to not be slaves to sin any longer. God wants us to know who we are in Christ and to live accordingly, making wise and godly choices as we live this life. It means saying no to ourselves many times a day in painful ways that bring about greater freedom in Christ. As Galatians 5:1 says, it was for freedom that Christ has set us free. So we are to keep standing firm and not use our freedom as a covering for evil and not let ourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. We need to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. We may be discouraged by the weakness we see in ourselves, but God intends for us to walk in the freedom we have in Christ and He is working all things together to bring us to glory.
So there you have it, in this very brief look at the idea of Christians being chosen, therefore comforted in Christ. Know that when the Bible speaks of your election, it speaks to give you comfort and assurance and freedom.