Sunday, 18 June 2017
…knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. 1 Thessalonians 1:4
The translation of the NKJV (which follows after the KJV) is completely wrong. It should read “…knowing, brothers beloved by God, your election…” The words, “by God” are tied to “beloved,” not “election.” As Vincent’s word studies accurately states, “neither here nor elsewhere in the N.T. is there any warrant for the revolting doctrine that God has predestined a definite number of mankind to eternal life, and the rest to eternal destruction. The sense in this passage appears to be defined by the succeeding context. The Thessalonians had been chosen to be members of the Christian church, and their conduct had justified the choice.”
In other words, the translation which ties “by God” to “election” is intended to support the Calvinist belief that God has pre-elected all who will be saved. To them, only those will be saved, and the others He has pre-elected to be destroyed; free will is not involved in the process. As Vincent notes, this is a revolting doctrine. It also cannot be supported by a right dividing of the word of God.
Rather, Paul says to those at Thessalonica, “knowing, brothers beloved by God…” He is stating that they are beloved by God because they have come to God through Christ. God knew this would occur, but it does not negate the fact that it occurred. God granted them the choice, they chose, and God saved. From there, Paul mentions “your election.” This is tied into “knowing.” They know their election because they have called on Christ. This is what John 3:16 shows will happen, this is what Paul’s letters say will happen, and this is how it works. When a person freely believes in Christ, they become the elect of God.
Life application: John 3:16 does not say, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever is pre-elected by God, is regenerated in order to believe, and then believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” No, it does not say this. If you are separated from God, call on Christ, be forgiven of your sins, and be reconciled to your heavenly Father.
Lord God, thank You for the wonderful gift of free-will. You have allowed us to choose what path we will follow. It allows us to choose Your glory or to reject it. For all who choose You, through our Lord Jesus Christ, there is salvation and eternal joy set before us. What can the world do to us then? We have overcome the world through Him! Hallelujah to You, O God, for our Lord Jesus. Amen.