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1 Thess 1

Election: God's Selection

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The choice that God made

1 Thessalonians 1

[dropcap class="article-dropcap"]W[/dropcap]hen Paul heard of the persecution of the Thessalonians, he became concerned regarding their faith.  More than once, he attempted to go to them and see how they were doing, but Satan continually hindered him.  Finally, he sent Timothy to encourage and establish them in their faith.  After receiving Timothy’s report of their faith and love, he wrote a letter to them expressing his joy and used G1589 in the opening lines.

We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God.  For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.  (1 Thessalonians 1:2-5)

The news of the Thessalonians' persecution had raised a question in Paul's heart regarding these beloved brethren: had they endured, or had their faith been empty?  Paul knew eloquent preaching could persuade people to make a decision for Jesus, but the decision would be of no lasting value if God did not receive them.  For this reason, Paul had deliberately avoided using eloquence, lest by it he would persuade the Thessalonians into making empty professions.  Even so, he was concerned regarding their faith.  When Timothy brought back the report of their work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope, he rejoiced in the clear indication that their initial faith had not been empty, but that they indeed were chosen by God to be His people.  The proof of this choice, as demonstrated by the fruit in their lives, would have been encouraging to Paul, for he knew that nothing, not even intense persecution, could separate God's chosen ones from His love.

[dropcap class="article-dropcap"]A[/dropcap]lthough one could plausibly interpret Paul’s comment as saying God had pre-selected them for salvation without disrupting the flow of thought, yet there is nothing in the text to indicate that his words should be interpreted this way.  Given that G1586 was never used in Scripture to speak of that type of selection, it is more likely that he was referring to God's selection of the Thessalonians who believed to be His own treasured people.