God has chosen us in Christ to change our past. We have all been sinners in various ways, but He has shown mercy to give us eternal life as well as a life He desired for us on earth. He is willing to do the same to all who listen to His call. The moment we hear His call and acknowledge it with a penitent heart He will set us by His side. No matter how wasteful and callous a person is He can turn him right by His calling. His calling has the power to make him new. He will wipe out his past record and empower him to restart life. He makes him guilt free. Since He is the Lord of all creation with utmost authority and power both to create and destroy, he is relieved of his past. There is no sin or evil from which He cannot save men. “But Ananias answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, ‘how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem’” (Acts 9:13).
God calls us, because He has chosen us while we were yet unborn. Many hear the gospel and yet, not all are chosen. It is because He looks at certain goodness in men. He knew of it while He has not yet created them. The goodness He sees in a person is not the same as we see. There are many people that do good or have goodness in them, but He does not choose them all. It is because the goodness He sees is with a listening ear. In other words, it is teachable. It perceives Him when He speaks. All men have goodness. It is because they were created by Him. But it is the goodness that responds to His call that makes a person His chosen one. And since He knows beforehand what man applies his goodness to respond to His call, He has chosen him before the foundation of the world.
The man Ananias refers to is Saul of tarsus, whom we latter came to know as the apostle Paul. From Ananias point of view Saul was a terrible person with no good in him. But from the Lord’s viewpoint he is His chosen instrument. What the Lord saw in Saul Ananias could not see. The Lord knew that Saul, who furiously fought against Him, has the goodness in him to respond to His call. Therefore, He chose him. And Paul too at one place states that God set him apart even from his mother’s womb. God sees in us what others cannot see; much more, He sees in us what we ourselves cannot see. Hence, we responded to His call and became His children free of guilt having our past record wiped out. His chosen ones were with the inner instinct to incline to Him. It is hidden in them and is manifested by His calling. Those that do not respond listen to the calling that pretends to be of God and abides by it. So, they do many good things but without the righteousness of God. Their goodness serves a weak purpose that does not bring God’s blessings.
Zaccheus was another man of whom the society knew as a sinner. Yet, from God’s viewpoint he was His chosen one. Of all the homes that were present that day Jesus entered his home alone. God saw the goodness in him that is able to respond to His call. He responded to every call that pretended to be God and yet, while the true calling came he forsook every other call. God knows the ones that can do this and chooses them beforehand. We have also done it and became His chosen ones. And, though Saul of Tarsus sinned greatly, he was still chosen.
So, what does it mean to be chosen of God? Why has God chosen us? What is the purpose of responding to His call through the goodness He put in us?
- We defend Christ. Not only do we give a defense to our salvation, but we defend the very eternal existence of Christ. We do it by acknowledging that we ourselves were once sinners without hope and life, but through Christ have been given an opportunity to perpetually live with God. We magnify our faith by having the nature of the resurrected Christ in us. And since we believe that Christ has been raised from the dead, our faith works vibrantly. So we do that which Paul and the rest strived to do. “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17). We defend Jesus; we are no longer in our sins.
- We proclaim Christ. Paul in writing to Timothy asserted that he was appointed to speak of the Christ that paid the debt for the sin of mankind. He said, “For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth” (1 Tim. 2:7). We proclaim Christ through the purpose God has given us. It is an involuntary work we do and if we do it as an obligation, we still perform God’s will. To proclaim Christ becomes a reflexive act of ours, since we know we are chosen by God. His nature reflects in us.
Now, one of the things God does is aid us to fulfill the above. Because we become His seekers and seekers of His glory, He bestows on us a magnificent gift. “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy” (Jam. 3:17). The qualities of wisdom are the qualities of God. Therefore, they work to produce fruits that remain perpetual. At every instance of our serving Him, we have the whole wisdom to establish His name. His wisdom gives access to the hearts of listeners. By establishing His name we ourselves find a name as His children.
So, God’s choice of us then unfolds the following things.
- We speak that which God intends for us to speak in the Spirit. Having known this Paul said, “But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all” (1 Cor. 14:24). We convict people by defending Christ and proclaiming Him in the wisdom God gives. The moment we listened to His calling and became His chosen ones God has destined us to serve Him by the wisdom that is able to guide us.
- We live confident and act boldly. A sure thing to happen is we do not doubt the demonstrations of Christ in our life. The many works He does and the many ways He marshals for us do not frighten us, but gives comfort and strength. “And He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?’” (Luke 24:38). The more He is intimate with us, the more we see Him work in various ways. And all our fears and doubts will gradually disappear leading us to trust Him at all times.
- We witness the effect of our serving Him. “THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SITTING IN DARKNESS SAW A GREAT LIGHT, AND THOSE WHO WERE SITTING IN THE LAND AND SHADOW OF DEATH, UPON THEM A LIGHT DAWNED” (Matt. 4:16). God’s Word is fulfilled through us. Because Christ is in us and working through us, the light that shines through us gives life to those in darkness. Many will be relieved of sin and suffering; they will find joy and satisfaction through the life that is in Him.