Chosen of God

“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you” (Col. 3:12-13).

“Those who have been chosen of God”—this is an amazing phrase. Imagine the thought of being one of God’s chosen people.

But what does this mean? How were the Christians in Colossae God’s chosen? Let’s begin by going back to the beginning of the letter.

The Christians in Colossae had heard and answered the gospel call (Col. 1:3-8). Responding to the message, they were raised up with Christ when they were baptized (Col. 2:12-13). Their new relationship with Christ existed because of the working of God. It was by grace through faith.

When Paul says they were chosen, he affirms a doctrine that runs through Scripture. In Ephesians, Paul’s expression of praise toward God acknowledged that all spiritual blessings come through him. He frames the blessing of redemption in terms of God’s election. “He chose us in Him” (Eph. 1:4-5). He made this choice as a matter of his grace. It was not deserved. And he made this choice before the world was even created.

But God chose us “in Christ.” He chose to receive all those who come to Christ in true faith. This means that, while God offers salvation to everyone, their eternal destiny depends upon their response to God’s call. Jesus himself taught this principle in the parable of the marriage feast (Matt. 22:1-14). To be included among the chosen, people must not only be invited, they must also accept the invitation. “Many are called but few are chosen.”

Another way to say it is that God chose to save a certain class or kind of people. He chose the sort of people who trust God, people who are willing to answer the call of the gospel and give themselves to Jesus. He called them to be holy and blameless.

This was according God’s plan of salvation. He preordained that whoever did accept him would be adopted into the family. That is, he staked out the boundaries for the chosen, those he would adopt as his children. It was his purpose. By his sovereign will God decreed that all men would exercise free will. They are given a choice whether or not to come to Jesus (see also 1 Thess. 1:4-5; 2 Thess. 2:13-14; 1 Pet. 2:9).

So those “chosen of God” in Colossae were those who answered the call of the gospel and were raised with Christ in baptism. But it doesn’t end there.

As God’s chosen people, they were called to holiness. They were to set their minds on things above. They were to clothe themselves with the virtues to which Christ calls them. They were to lay aside the old self with its old ways (Col. 3:5-8). And they were to put on the new self with its new ways, those taught by Christ (Col. 3:12-17).

What a privilege to be called God’s chosen! We are God’s own special possession (Tit. 2:14; 1 Pet. 2:9). But it is a privilege accompanied by responsibility. Live as God’s chosen ones. Be diligent to “make certain about His calling and choosing you” (2 Pet. 1:10).

Dan Petty