Being the Chosen of God
Dr. Karo Ogbinaka
To be chosen is to be selected or enlisted. It is a privilege. From the perspective of a believer’s relationship with God, it is first and foremost borne out of God’s mercy, grace and love for us. We did not merit “being chosen” by God to be His chosen people.
To be chosen by God is preconditioned upon separating and surrendering ourselves to Him. In 1 Samuel 7:3-4, the term “return- ing” to the Lord is used. Believers are required to change their direction from the imperfect human worldly ways to the Holy Spirit-filled ways of God.
Samuel, the prophet, gives three commands in order for a successful return to God to be possible, thus: (1) turn away from idolatry; (2) direct your heart to the Lord; and (3) serve Him alone” (Deuteronomy 6:4-15; Joshua 24:14- 28; Judges 10: 6-16). It follows therefore that God could not just make everyone His chosen.
In his epistle Peter (1 Peter 2:1-3) gives these preconditions clearly. “So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salva- tion – if indeed you have tested that the Lord is good.”
It amounts to self-deceit and delusion for “Christians” to simply assume that they are chosen because they are members of a given denomination or fellowship. Yes! The Lord is our God. We are the people of God’s pasture. And we are the sheep of His hand (Psalm 95:7).
But being ‘chosen’ can only be realised if we pass God’s test that we should be holy. This is the only way we will able to establish a relationship with “The Chosen Stone” and be “His Chosen People.”
Then we can come to “Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:4-5).
God has placed all believers in an elevated position of envy. This comes with a huge status pride laden with privileges for believers. Quoting the Old Testament (Isaiah 28:16), Apostle Peter puts it delightfully thus: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame” (1 Peter 2:6). Furthermore, in verse 7a: “So the honour is for you who believe”.
This is an honour that connects us to Christ Jesus; thereby elevating us to be fruitful in this part eternity, and to secure salvation in the thereafter. Fruitfulness because Christ says, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”
Salvation because Peter tells us “… but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone” “and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.”
They stumble because they disobey the word (1 Peter 2:7-8). We cannot resign to ignorance about our own individual responsibility of “hearing” and “obeying” God. God’s privileging us into being His own also requires our being ‘the regenerated’ for His purpose.
Consequently, being ‘chosen’ is a spiritual office for believers who are: (i) born of God (John 1:13); (ii) born again (John 3:3,7); (iii) born of water and the spirit (John 3:5); (iv) born of the spirit (John 3:6, 8); (v) who God has raised from the dead together with Christ (Ephesians 2:4-5; Colossians 2:18); (vi) saved by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5); (vii) brought forth by the word of God (James 1:18); (viii) caused to be born again (1 Peter 1:3, 23); (ix) who practices righteousness by being born again (1 John 2: 29); and (x) who overcome the practice of sinning because they are born of God (1 John 3: 9; 4: 7; 1 John 5: 1, 4, 18). To be chosen is a glorious thing.
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Hence the caution of the Psalmist, “Today, if you hear His voice: “Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, as in the day of trial in the wilderness” (Psalm 95: 7b-8). It is for those who ‘hear’ the voice of God; Peter thus qualified it: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation; a people of his own possession that you may proclaim the excellence of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9). This is a special ‘call’ for believers who were once in ‘darkness’ of sin, of the flesh and the world.
The great transition of believers is that which moves from a dark past into the present marvellous light. We are called to be the light of the world. Consequently in verse 10, “once you were not a people, once you had not received mercy”. Having been a ‘chosen’ of God, the Stone – Jesus Christ – will no longer be a stumbling rock that will crush unbelievers, because, “now you are God’s people… now you have received mercy” (1 Peter 2:10; Hosea 1:6-9, 10; 2:23).
Jesus Christ is speaking to us today saying, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:1-2). Jesus has pronounced us clean.
“Already you are clean because of the word I have spoken to you.” (John 15:3). Therefore, let us pray to God for this divine connection which He alone has freely offered us through His mercy and loving-kindness; for “it is in keeping of His commandment, that we may be able to please Him, both in will and deed.” Be blessed. Shalom.