New Apostolic Church USA

Election Time

"Doctrine & Theology: God's elect" from the Spring 2017 Vision Newsletter

Children of God who have been reborn out of water and the Spirit are elected for salvation. So what does it mean for us to be elected by God?

God calls all to salvation, but He determines the timing and the purpose that each person will have in His plan. God is sovereign, so He chooses whomever He wants, whenever He wants, without having to justify Himself. We see examples of timing and purpose when we look at the teachings of the Old Testament: God first called the people of Israel and He choose Noah for a specific purpose. Noah was elected by God in order to be saved from the flood. The people of Israel were elected by God in order to obtain His blessing and deliverance. In the New Testament, election takes on a slightly different understanding. In the new covenant, the salvation that comes from being elected by God means that we are liberated from sin and a path is opened to eliminate the separation between us and God. This salvation is only possible through faith in Jesus Christ.

Our story of salvation does not end after we are elected. Our election does not give us a free pass. We have to continue to make our election sure. What does this mean? It means accepting God’s salvation and purpose in our lives. Noah did this by being faithful and obedient to his task of building an ark. The Israelites had to remain faithful to the Mosaic Law. Making our election sure is not determined by our own criteria, but rather by what God wants of us.

As part of the church of Christ, how can we make our election sure? As Noah and the Israelites did, we also want to demonstrate our faith and serve our God. We do this by bringing praise to God, being credible witnesses of His presence in our lives, following Jesus’ teachings, and spreading His Gospel. We can see from these examples that serving God and others is at the crux of our faith. When we are elected by God, this not only means that we have been granted a path to salvation, we are also called to do something, to serve Him. James perfectly summarizes the importance of serving when he writes, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26).

Another aspect of divine election is the election of the firstfruits. Being reborn out of water and the Spirit means that we have also been chosen to become firstfruits in God’s kingdom. We can read in James 1:18, “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.”

When Jesus Christ returns, He will come to seek the elect, both among the living and the dead. At that point, we have the opportunity to enter into fellowship with Christ without having to wait for the Last Judgement. This election also involves more than just being baptized in water and Spirit. We want to make our election sure by allowing ourselves to be prepared by the apostolate of Christ. We believe that, through the Holy Spirit, they discern God’s will and bring Jesus’ teachings to us in the divine services.

Being elected by God does not make us better than someone else. God is faithful to His promises and in His own time, He will see to it that every person is given the chance to be saved. Because we love God and He wants everyone to have salvation, we also desire the same thing. This is why we are called to spread the Gospel and our knowledge of God to those around us, so that they might also come to know Him and understand His offer of salvation. This is our mission as the church of Christ and God has always seen to it that the church is able to fulfill its mission on earth. With this knowledge and trust in our great God, we can accept His salvation and purpose in our lives by doing our part in His plan of salvation.

*This article is written based on thoughts from Chief Apostle Schneider.

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