We feel happy and proud when we understand that we are God’s chosen people. Feeling optimistic about this privilege leads to pride. Pride secludes us from the rest of the world, and we restrict the grace of God within a narrow circle of our fellow believers. The scripture tells us that pride goes before the fall. This pride has become a stumbling block in the spiritual growth of believers. From the world’s perspective, chosen means shortlisted or a few deserving candidates out of many. Do we deserve to be saved by God? Knowingly or unknowingly, similar to the attitude of the Pharisees and the Sadducees, we assume that we have earned our salvation. With this misconception, we who think of ourselves as the pioneers in believing in God, deter other people from coming to God.
Who Are the Chosen People?
When we assume ourselves as a chosen people, we ignore others whom God has chosen. God has chosen or predestined all people, those who knew Him or not, to be saved by His grace so that they should not perish.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16 (NIV)
If God wants to save everyone, who are we to distort people from availing of His plan? If we continue to think that we are the only people chosen by God, we are spoiling the scope of accomplishing His desire, as we cannot stop God from implementing His plan. The Gospel has the power to save all people. “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). Let us avail the opportunity of working with Him in bringing all people to His fold. If we do not work with Him in His vineyard, Jesus says that we are His enemies and are scattering His people (Luke 11:23).
God works systematically among His chosen people (all designated people) to groom them in His Son’s image. Paul explains this in a progressive order in the following verse.
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.Romans 8:29-30 (NIV)
As we now have a better understanding that God foreknew all people on this earth, it will be easy for us to develop our knowledge about His salvation step by step. As God foreknew everyone, He calls them to fulfil His purpose in their lives. At this point, most people reject His calling but God never forsakes them. In these circumstances, the people who accepted the call think that those who do not comply with His call are not the chosen people. With their misconception, the devil uses them to scatter aspiring believers from coming to God.
God justifies the people who have accepted His call. At this stage, we commit another mistake of proving ourselves just and not letting God justify us. When we do this, we indicate that others are blameworthy. When our deeds are just in the light of the law, we tell God that His Son doesn’t need to die for our sins. If at all we love to justify ourselves, we can do one thing. We should strive hard to deserve His call by growing in His love more and more. This could be possible only through His grace, not through our endeavours. God will raise us to a level where His truth and His grace come at par in our lives (Psalm 84:10).
After God justifies us through His Son’s righteousness, He glorifies us for His glory. At this stage, we seek glory for ourselves rather than giving it wholeheartedly to God. Can we heal or deliver a person unless and until God does it? Unaware of this, we try to hide God and His work and project ourselves as the reason for the healing and deliverance. How are we going to justify this before God? We have to learn how to glorify God when He glorifies us. John the Baptist desired that He must become greater; I must become less (John 3:30).
Does God Show Favoritism?
We know that Mary had found favour in the eyes of God, that she should be the virgin mother of our Savior. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God (Luke 1:30). Does this contradict the scriptures that tell us in many places that there is no partiality with God (Romans 2:11). Both the testaments of the Bible tells us this fact. (Deuteronomy 10:17, 2 Chronicles 19:7, Job 34:19, Colossians 3:25, Acts 10:34-35, and so on). Despite these verses that tell us that God does not show partiality, the following scripture portion misguides people about the favouritism of God.
Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad —in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”Romans 9:11-13 (NIV)
God loves everyone equally, and when we fail to receive His love because of our traits, we fail to accomplish His will in our lives. Even before the birth, the elder brother, Esau, was not predestined to earn the hatred of God, but His attitude overshadowed the love of God. God foretold this as He knows the acts of the elder son of Rebekah even before his birth and told their mother that the older would serve the younger. God knows our minds and the deeds we have yet to do. Hence, it is not partiality but practicality. We should not lose heart by thinking that God loves someone else more than us.
Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.Colossians 3:25 (NIV)
The illustration of Esau and Jacob does not talk about the partiality of God but about the birthright given to Esau being the elder son. We oversee the mistake of Esau but assume that God is showing partiality by loving the younger one. The comparison is not between partial and impartial but about mercy and compassion. God shows His mercy to all of us. Yet at the same time, He is compassionate to people when they do not avail of His mercy.
For he says to Moses,Romans 9:15 (NIV)
“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
The Purpose of God’s Favor
Usually, when we think about God’s favour, we assume that God will bless us favourably and we will not lack anything. In Biblical terms, someone finding God’s favour means not getting favourite things, but God favours a person to fulfil His purpose in this world. When Mary found favour with God, she received a message that a sword would pierce through her soul. When God is accomplishing His work then if we choose to still remain with the world, we cannot understand His works as it appears to us like a sword piercing our souls. We should find favour with God to accomplish His will on this earth.
To understand the real meaning of chosen people in the Kingdom of God, we should recall that Jesus is the chosen one. God has chosen His Son to leave His Kingdom for a while to include all people in His Kingdom. Are we ready to forego all the things of this world to fulfil the will of God? God is sending us among the wolves purposely to save His people from the clutches of evil. There are still people who are not aware that they are the chosen people of God. Our pride in addressing ourselves as a chosen people deprive others the right to become the children of God through faith. Let us be aware of the below warning by Jesus to the alleged chosen people.
Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. So watch yourselves.Luke 17:1-3 (NIV)