What You Did to Be Saved

Posted on January 22, 2021

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By David Ettinger

A Chosen People
As a Bible-believing Christian, this affirmation of your standing with God is something to rejoice over: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).

Do you know you are chosen? Do you know you are a royal priest? Do you know you are holy? Do you know you belong to God? If not, you know now!

You became all of this when you submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and indeed you should be rejoicing! However, if you think you deserve any of the above, forget it! You’ve done nothing to warrant your chosenness, royal priesthood, holiness, or special closeness to God, and you need to acknowledge this.

God’s “Chosen”
God’s original “Chosen People” was Israel, and they still are. However, since the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, those who confess Him as Lord are likewise “chosen.”

How can both be chosen? Simple. God called Israel to Himself, made numerous promises of redemption to them, and will fulfill these promises at the end of the age. In the meantime, God has called a new group of Chosen People – those who comprise the Church.

Both groups have their purpose. Israel witnesses to God’s faithfulness. That the Jews still exist as a distinct people despite the constant threat of extinction speaks volumes of God’s fidelity to those He called, promised to uphold, and will eventually redeem.

In the meantime, the Church is God’s instrument through which the Gospel is communicated. It is the Church’s job to make worldwide disciples (Matthew 28:19-20) and, as 1 Peter 2:9 tells us, to “declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

Common Ground
Though these two groups of Chosen People have distinct functions, they share something in common: Not one among them has done anything to warrant being chosen. Speaking to Ancient Israel, God (through Moses) says:

The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors … (Deuteronomy 7:7-8).

In other words, God did not choose Israel for anything she had done, but for reasons only He knows. In fact, several times in the Old Testament God calls ancient Israel “a stiff-necked people” (Exodus 32:9, and many more). God had His specific reasons for choosing Israel, but from a human perspective, “God chose Israel because He chose her.”

Likewise, God (through Paul) tells believers today: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9, emphasis added).

Titus 3:5 confirms this: “[Jesus] saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy” (emphasis added).

What It Means
Why were you chosen by God for salvation? Again, the simple answer is, “God chose you because He chose you.” Of course, it goes far deeper than this, but the point all believers must understand is that we have done NOTHING deserving of salvation. This means that NO believer should consider themselves better than anyone else – unbelievers included – and that we are “no great shakes” as far as the human race is concerned.

What our “chosenness” does mean is that we should be thanking God consistently for this unmerited gift, praising Him for this unmerited gift, and telling the unsaved how they too can have this unmerited gift.

May we who have done nothing deserving of salvation be a Psalm 79:13 people who will “praise [God] forever; from generation to generation we will proclaim your praise”!