Return to:

Special Knowledge

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 1:2-4; Text: 1 Thessalonians 1:4

Have you ever thought about how many things we do not know are true? (1). Some things are kept from us, as government security actions. (2). Some things we have not yet discovered, for as children we are always growing in knowledge. (3). Some things we will never know, because the secrets of the universe and God are too grand for our minds to understand. Are they any less the truth, simply because we do not understand them? Of course not. We do not have to understand something for it to be true, because there is no way we can understand all truth.

Thank God there are some truths we can understand and know. (1). We can know God (John 17:3). This knowledge comes as the Holy Spirit reveals God to our hearts. (2). We can know about life beyond death (2 Corinthians 5:1). This we know because the Bible teaches us it is true. (3). We can know our election of God. (Text). God inspired Paul to state it for our benefit.

This verse of scripture reminds us of three truths that are designed to bless our human hearts. KNOWING: (1). BRETHREN, this word informs of family ties with the family of God. When the Lord touched Saul of Tarsus, he was addressed as Brother Saul (Acts 9:17). God is our Father and we are children of God, members of the redeemed family. (2). BELOVED, this word reminds us that we are loved by someone. We are objects of God's eternal love and loved by others in His kingdom. How wonderful to be loved so much that Jesus went to the cross in our place (1 John 4:10). (3). your ELECTION of God. That is we have been chosen by God Himself, to be the objects of His grace (Ephesians 1:4). How wonderful is this special knowledge.

By "election" means the act of God's free grace, whereby He has determined that certain individuals would be His children and partakers of the grace manifested in Christ our Lord. Some will condemn this doctrine and some will condone it. The real question for me is how does God feel about it? Evidentally He loves it or He would not have put it in the Bible so many times. He inspired the Bible to be written, didn't He? (2 Timothy 3:16). To do so He put it in the hearts and minds of those who wrote it (2 Peter 1:21). Even if it had arisen in their minds and hearts, He could have taken it out, but He did not. Instead, He put it in their minds and hearts, moving them to put it in the teaching of Holy Scriptures. God wanted Paul to write about it and he did so, here and a great many other places. I know that God wanted Paul to write about it, so He inspired him. He wants me to preach about it, for He put it on my heart too. God wants you to hear about it and think about it, or He would not have put it in the Bible and on the hearts of preachers. (1). I know the Bible teaches election. (2). I know that God did elect people. (3). I know I must preach it.

What we all need to realize is that there have always been irrefutable truths that do not have to be proven, just accepted by faith. I was told at an early age that the earth revolves around the sun. No teacher ever tried to take me into space to observe and prove the process. It was a known truth, that I took as an accepted fact. Even so, this doctrine is a fact that does not need to be proven. It is stated by God and is to be taken on His word. Therefore, Paul does not argue or debate the issue of election here. He does not give the pros and cons of public opinion. He does not weigh it in the balance of logic or philosophy. He simply declares it is true.

Election is a doctrine of the sovereignty of God. It stands upon His sovereignty, not upon the acceptance of men. Some today are unable to appreciate the teachings of God's sovereignty, but our Puritan forefathers held it very dear. God is sovereign whether we like it or not, whether we believe it or not. He is the sovereign Creator and Ruler of the universe. He can and will do as He pleases and it does not matter a wink to Him, whether you or I like it or not. Because He is sovereign, He can choose whom He will. That is the idea behind election and I am certainly not going to argue with Him about it , are you?

After all, He did not ask if I wanted to exist, or if I wanted to be a dog or cow, or if I wanted to be male or female. Did He ask you any of those questions? Of course not, you say, don't be ridiculous. Well, He did not ask either if I wanted to be elected, or to be predestinated, or if I wanted to be saved. He is sovereign and He just did what pleased Him, in both cases. That is because He is sovereign.

God is running the universe and we can hardly run our lives. Who is better qualified to make the decisions I have just mentioned? God is, of course. We may think we are pretty important stuff. In a little pond, maybe we are a big frog. But in the vast ocean of the universe, we are nothing compared to God. We think about what we have done or will do, yet most of our plans may come to naught. On the other hand, God is unfailing. He has elected us and personally speaking, I am glad He did. It was His choice, not mine and not yours.

So here we are, kin to each other , loved by the God of the universe and eternity, chosen by Him to be His people and to serve Him with our lives (2 Thessalonians 2:13). Aren't you thankful its that way? If so, that brings us back to the introductory remarks of our passage. Paul began by giving thanks to God. The reason that he thanked God was that all the good he saw in the lives of the saved, were the result of God's election. Think of that, they did not do these good works to be elected, but because God had elected them. Thus, the cause of their Christianity was their election by God. Their election was the foundation work of God's grace, out of which grew all He did for them and to them. He chose us and sent His Son to die for our sins, shedding His precious blood for us. He quickened us by His Holy Spirit and saved us by His grace (Ephesians 2:1&5). We were made new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) and now we give our lives to Him in service and devotion. Because of our "election of God" there is spiritual fruitfulness in us. By this entire process God is glorified, because He elected us. He initiated the work and all we do that is good, is the direct result of His election of us (1 Corinthians 15:10). Therefore, we like Paul, are to thank Him for all spiritual benefits derived in the lives of the saved.

As Paul thanked God, he did so specifically for their FAITH, LOVE, AND HOPE. Remember that he mentions these endearing qualities together in 1 Corinthians 13:13, but in a different order. These are all great blessings in our lives and in the world, yet they are the result of the Holy Spirit quickening us into divine life. Then as we heard the gospel, we felt its power to direct our lives in the path of righteousness. We were transformed by His grace, and now we transform our lives by the knowledge of His truth.

In their lives Paul witnessed their (1). WORK OF FAITH. When faith is properly used, it will motivate us to work in the kingdom of God (James 2:17- 18). Faith inspires us to work in God's service. A man may work for gain (salary) or he may work out of fear, but only by faith will he work for the glory of God. (2). LABOUR OF LOVE. Those who truly labor in the service of God, are most likely prompted by love (John 14:15). A woman was busy sewing for days. An acquaintance asked "Don't you ever get tired of sewing?" She said, "No, it is my wedding dress." Love in her heart made her willing to labor and sew, day after day. If we have a heart filled with love for our Lord Jesus Christ, we will gladly do all that He commands. (3). PATIENCE OF HOPE. When you really hope for something, you can wait patiently for it (Romans 8:24-25). There is an endurance that is founded upon the hopes of our hearts. Alexander the great, once distributed all his possessions between his friends. Afterwards, one said, "You kept nothing for yourself." He responded by saying, "Oh yes, I have kept my hopes." Hopes may sustain us when nothing else can. Hope makes us more patient than we would otherwise be.

Paul saw these desirable qualities in the lives of the saints who were in the church at Thessalonica. He rejoiced in them and gave thanks to God, not to the people. The explanation is simple, Paul knew that the source of the noble Christian qualities did not spring forth from within the people themselves. He understood and knew, that the well-spring of them was God's electing grace. If they emerged from any other source, then thanksgiving would belong to it. Because they grew out of the work of God, Paul gave thanks for His divine election.

In conclusion, if we can recognize this truth, we too can give heart felt thanks to God each time we see someone manifest faith, love or hope. When we witness the love of God in people, who walk in faith to do His will and hope for His soon return; we will know that there is one of God's elect. Such knowledge may be too wonderful for us to fully grasp (Psalm 139:6), but we can simply believe it because the Bible tells us it is true. If it was taught only here, that would be sufficient, but it is taught in many other places too. If you doubt that divine election is taught in the Bible and are unwilling to search the scriptures as Jesus taught, probably little I could say or do would convince you. Paul evidentally felt that way when he simply stated the truth. The question we must each answer, is will I take God at His word or doubt what I see in His word. I genuinely hope that you too will recognize God's election and give thanks to Him for all that it produces in the lives of those around us. I want Him to be glorified by all that we do, for one day He will glorify us in heaven.

Return to:

Copyright © 2014 Light From God's Word. All Rights Reserved.
This page last updated on June 7, 2014