Unfortunately there is much confusion about Christian salvation and the Chosen Ones of Christ. I was also confused about these concepts myself for many years even as a follower of Jesus. On one hand the gospel message is that we must believe in Jesus and be saved. Yet on the other hand we also read that God has predestined us to salvation from before the foundation of the world. Unfortunately Christendom has a great fissure of confusion dividing the followers of Jesus on these two points.
For example I was raised in a church passionate to see their children and neighbors trust in Jesus for salvation. Yet they avoided the subject of election because it was difficult to understand and seemed to be a matter to be left with God since man could do nothing about it anyway. Unfortunately they and others still in confusion miss the great encouragement that being one of Christ’s chosen ones is intended to be. We can have great confidence that none of our sin will ever separate us from the love of God because he knew about it all and dealt with it all from before he even made us. Unfortunately, there are those that would preach election as the reason that we cannot be saved rather than the love of God that guarantees our salvation!
On the other side of the divide there are churches teaching that election alone is salvation and bypass the need for each one to personally receive Christ to be saved and transformed. They also are passionate to see their children and neighbors know the Lord. Yet they avoid the subject of being born of the spirit because it is difficult to understand and seems to be a matter to be left with God since man can do nothing about it anyway. Unfortunately they miss the whole point of salvation, the radical transformation of the sin nature brought about by receiving Christ’s forgiveness. Remember that even the elect of God are first born with an unbelieving sin nature that desperately needs saving grace. Unfortunately this is the legacy of Adam, but praise God for the good news of Christ’s love!
So we have two great ironies. One group has received Christ, but cannot have the unconquerable assurance they should have until they know God as the Father who has chosen them. While the other group blindly imagines themselves to be elect of God, but impossibly so with a sin nature not yet conquered by grace. Fortunately, Paul offers us some help to untangle this confusion.
Paul writes, “Therefore I endure all things for the chosen ones' sake, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (II Timothy 2:10 WEB). Conclusions listed from this one little verse could fill in the great divide among Christians all by itself.
1. Paul speaks of chosen ones and so we should not avoid this subject.
2. Paul speaks of obtaining salvation and so we should not avoid this either.
3. Paul earnestly sought the salvation of the chosen ones and so we should
a. assure those who received Christ they were chosen by God before creation for eternal life and
b. warn the unbelieving chosen ones that they will go to Hades if they do not personally receive Christ.
If you still find yourself confused you may eventually need to confess with me that some of our confusion is the result of both rebellion and hypocrisy. Every atom of flesh in us and all mankind is in rebellion against the grace of God whether it is hatred of God’s grace in predestination or hatred of God’s grace in giving spiritual birth to spiritually dead people. We must receive both of these truths to fully receive God’s grace.
Furthermore, apart from Christ we and all mankind also suffer greatly from blind hypocrisy as one man’s fist hammers heaven asking "God, how could you choose me and not all mankind?" while another man’s fist hammers his neighbor saying, "God chose me and not you." Fortunately, the good news is that Christ is the savior of all mankind and has atoned for all our sin, and so our hypocritical hammering will stop sooner or later!