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1 Peter 2:4

…you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious…

I was awful. No one had to tell me – I knew it. In my hometown of Littlefield, Texas, the kids used to find a vacant lot relatively bare of weeds, choose up teams and play baseball. Teams were chosen by one “captain” tossing the bat to the other captain. Then the two captains alternately gripped the bat, each above the other’s hand, until one’s hand reached the small end of the bat. That captain chose the first team member, and the succession continued until everyone was chosen for a team. Everyone, that is, except me. Then the captain would grudgingly realize that I was on his team, but the brutal truth is that I was “unchosen.” My team’s best hope was that I would be a nonfactor and do minimal harm.

It wasn’t personal. These were my friends, but I was slow, uncoordinated, unable to throw a ball accurately or half the distance needed, and I lacked the physique and fluidity of movement to play sports--any sport. No amount of training seemed to overcome the sheer absence of natural athletic talent.

God too chooses people. He chose one family—Jacob’s, not Esau’s--to be a witness to the nations and eventually produce the Christ for the sake of every nation. He chose David—not one of his brothers--to be king of Israel. Esther, a Jewish girl, became queen of the vast Persian Empire “for such a time as this,” and saved the Jews from extermination. God chose Mary for the exalted honor of being Jesus’ mother, and John the baptist and Paul for their respective works. The fact that the choosing of some is done suggests that others are “unchosen,” as I was years ago.

Questions start to pop. Does this mean that some people are born only to remain unalterably outside the reach of God’s favor? Paul told the Romans the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable. If a person lives wickedly, does that reveal that God has chosen them for that life? Is God fair? Since God is no respecter of persons, how does he choose some and leave others unchosen through no fault of their own?

Or does he? Paul wrote to the Ephesian churches, “God chose us in him (Christ) before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before him.” Do the pronouns “us” and “me” in Paul’s letter include me? Or exclude me? If I was irrevocably unchosen before the foundation of the world, is there nothing I can do about it and am I irreversibly lost?

It is one thing to be chosen and singled out for some specific role in the earthly unfolding of God’s plan, as Abraham, Moses, David, Esther, and others were. But they were each chosen to meet some prevailing need in their time for which each of them was better equipped than others were. Being chosen for eternal salvation is another and separate choosing, for salvation from sin comes only through the price paid for sin at Golgotha.

The choosing for salvation is a reciprocal thing, similar to choosing a mate in marriage. Every person is chosen for salvation, and the price to save even the worst offenders is paid; and the terms for a chosen person to receive the universally paid-for gift places the saved person under the Lordship of Jesus. The New Testament closes with the offer, “The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.” The entire human race was chosen to be invited to the Lamb’s marriage feast. All the preparations have been made and the feast is ready. God has chosen and invited us; we too must choose.

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