The phrase “chosen by God” is used in a variety of ways. Some people use it in the concept of saying that God chose them to do some sort of special thing. Unfortunately, my experience is that people who usually proclaim this, often when you first meet them, do so is a bragging sense and quickly reveal by what they say that they are a theological mess. Other’s refer to being chosen of God in the sense of world leaders playing a part in end times events. Still others use the phrase to refer to people whom God has chosen to be saved. What does it mean to be chosen by God? God’s Word provides us some understanding in this matter.
Are there people chosen by God to do specific things?
The Bible is very clear that there are. We see that in many cases, there were certain people chosen by God to do specific things as follows:
God chose the children of Israel (Jacob) to be a special people
“For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 7:6-8) [See also Deuteronomy 14:1-2; Psalms 33:12; Psalms 89:3-4]
“But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.” (Isaiah 41:8-9)
God chose the tribe of Levi to be priests
“For the LORD thy God hath chosen him out of all thy tribes, to stand to minister in the name of the LORD, him and his sons for ever.” (Deuteronomy 18:5) [See also 2 Chronicles 29:11-15; Psalms 105:26]
God chose Saul to be the first King of Israel
“And Samuel said to all the people, See ye him whom the LORD hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king. Then Samuel told the people the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in a book, and laid it up before the LORD. And Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house. And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched. But the children of Belial said, How shall this man save us? And they despised him, and brought him no presents. But he held his peace.” (1 Samuel 10:24-27)
God chose David to replace Saul as the King of Israel
“Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The LORD hath not chosen these. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither. And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.” (1 Samuel 16:10-12)
God chose Jerusalem as the place to show Himself to His people
“But I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel.” (2 Chronicles 6:6)
God chose Christ in the flesh to be the Savior of the world
“Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.” (Matthew 12:18) [ See also Luke 23:35]
God has chosen to protect the Israelites during the end times
“And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.” (Mark 13:20)
Christ (God) chose the Apostles
“Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?” (John 6:70) [See also Isaiah 9:6; 1 John 5:7 in KJV]
God chose those whom He foreknew would love him to be saved
“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14) [See also Romans 8:28-30; 1 John 4:1-10]
God chose us as believers to be a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, and to show the world our praises of Him because of what He has done for us
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:” (Galatians 3:6-18; 1 Peter 2:9) [See also 2 Peter 2:10-12; 1 John 4:19]
What Does it Mean to Be Chosen By God?
We can see from these examples that to be chosen by God, simply means at some point God made the choice for something to happen according to His perfect wisdom, foreknowledge, and will. We also see that it is because of His reason, not ours. We have to remember that God has known from the foundations of the world what our choices would be in any given situation. Because of this, He also knows how to accomplish His perfect will, while yet still allowing man to make choices, either good or bad.
For example, as we saw in Romans 8:28-30, God foreknew who would love Him. This means He foreknew that given every situation we could ever be in, He knew who would trust Christ as their Savior and who would not. Those He foreknew would love Him, or trust Christ, He predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. This means that by God’s perfect will and power, He would bring it to pass that believers would one day stand before Him in a perfected state as His Son is perfect. Yet, He also knew that there are some people that no matter what, they will never trust Christ as their Savior so God predestined them that they would not stand before Him in a perfected state. Instead, they would stand before Him in their sinful state at the Great White Throne Judgement where they would hear those fateful words, “I never knew you, depart from Me, ye that worketh iniquity” (Matthew 7:23; Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:11-15).
The phrase “chosen by God” is used in a variety of ways. The Bible is very clear that there are people chosen by God to do specific things. This simply means at some point God made the choice for something to happen according to His perfect wisdom, foreknowledge, and will. Because of this, God’s choices are perfect and will result in the fulfillment of His perfect will.
Something more to read: Does God Predestine People to Hell?
Resources – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, King James Version