How do I know I have been chosen?
I’ve struggled for a few years with the following question. I know the bible teaches predestination. How can I know that God has chosen me? I have been a christian for many years but sometimes have doubts. Is it possible that God hasn’t choosen me and no matter what I won’t be saved. The bible says that Jesus will not lose any that the Father has given him. How can I be sure that the Father has given me to Jesus?
Understanding predestination and accountability is difficult because they seem to be mutually exclusive ideas and yet the bible teaches both. How can God choose and yet hold us accountable? It is a conundrum that has been around since the bible was written. So how do we manage it?
The way I manage it is to recognise that I will not logically be able to bring them together. If I try, I will always do so at the expense of one or the other ideas. In a way it is satisfying because it means that my God is still bigger than me and that I must trust that somehow they come together logically and justly in him (its a similar problem to the idea of the trinity). In the meantime I must hold on to each idea equally.
The second thing I do is see why the bible teaches the ideas. For me the main purpose of God speaking of predestining people is wonderfully expressed by Paul in Romans 8:28-39. Without predestination I cannot be certain of my salvation. But because of predestination I can, like Paul, say with certainty that nothing can come between me and God because God is working to make sure that is what happens. Accountabilty (and its partner Judgement), however, are in the bible to warn us to take things seriously. Passages such as Heb 5:11-6:12 warn of the dire consequnces of falling away and are designed to make their readers work hard to avoid it.
What are the consequences of having one without the other? If we had predestination without accountability then we would not have to worry about the way we lived - if you’re chosen your lucky, if not bad luck. If you had accountability without predestination then no-one could be certain of being saved and we would always be anxious about whther we had done enough - do you have enough faith.
We need both and we need to hold onto both equally. Paul expressed this dicotomy well in Philippians 2:12-13 where, after encouraging them to follow Christ’s example, he exhorts them to work out their salvation. This is not work ON your salvation but work out the consequences of your salvation. But do so with fear and trembling because it is God who is working IN YOU. That is Christian living is a partnership where we work hard to bring about the godly lives that God is working in us to bring about. We do the work and God does the work. Peter says it more succinctly in 2 Peter 1:3-11 where he encourages his readers to put effort into having the godly attributes of faith, goodness, knowledge etc. because doing such things WILL MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE and if you do these things YOU WILL NEVER FALL. How can you make God’s will for you certain? By working hard to become what he want you to be!!
Now this is a rather round about way of answering your question. How do you know that you have been called? Well, in the words of Paul (Rom 10:9), if you confess that “Jesus is Lord” and believe that he has been raised from the dead then you are saved - you have been chosen - because no one can do such a thing unless God’s Spirit is within them (1 Corinithians 12:3). You see no-one can come to Jesus unless God gives them to him, and God gives them to him by enabling them to confess that He is Lord. Once called then you make this calling “sure” by working hard to become the person God wants you to become. That is how you can be sure.
Now of course we do struggle and often we fail but this is part and parcel of the process of becoming a godly Christian - struggling against our sinful nature. The fact that you are concerned about your salvation shows you are this sort of person.
I hope this is helpful and I encourage you to continue to struggle to become that person God wants you to be.
Answers are kindly provided by our friends at Christianity.net.au