Election: God's Selection
The choice that God made
1 Thessalonians 1
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.