In John 15:16 Jesus says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” Ephesians 1:4 says, “He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” First Peter 2:9 says, “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.” It is undeniable that God has chosen those who are believers in Jesus. But why? Is there something special about me that led God to choose me? The short answer is, no, God did not choose us because of anything inherent in ourselves. He chose us out of His love and mercy, and for His glory.
Ephesians 1 goes on to say, “In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves” (verses 5–6). We see that God’s choosing of us is linked to His love. God’s choice is something that gives Him pleasure and brings Him praise. God’s choosing of us highlights His gracious character, not our merit. As we know from Ephesians 2:8–9, we are not saved because of our good works but solely because of God’s grace. We are all sinners who fail to measure up to God’s glory (Romans 3:23). Apart from Jesus all deserve death (Romans 6:23). But in Jesus we can have life. It is not because of who we are that God chooses us but because of who He is. As 1 Peter 2:9 indicates, the proper response to being chosen by God is to declare God’s praise and give Him worship.
God also chose us so that we could join in His work in the world. Ephesians 2:10 says God has prepared good works in advance for us to do. Jesus spoke of His followers’ bearing fruit that would last. Ephesians 1:4 links election to being holy and blameless in God’s sight. God chose us because He has a purpose in mind for our lives.
The Old Testament focuses on Israel as God’s chosen people (Deuteronomy 7:6). In Deuteronomy 7:7–9 Moses tells the children of Israel why God chose them: “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 that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.” Once again, we see that God’s choice is not based on the merit of a particular person or nation, but solely on His love and faithfulness.
Just as God chose Israel out of love and not because of something impressive about the nation, God chooses us out of love. As 1 John 3:1 says, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” Why did God choose me? Because of His great love, His lavish love.
The doctrine of predestination is difficult to grasp. We naturally tend to think that those who are predestined are chosen because of some merit of their own. After all, that is how we tend to choose. We remember picking teams for P.E.—everyone chooses the tallest, fastest, most athletic, most popular, etc., to be on their team. But God is not like that. His criterion for choosing is not based on us. “Consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world . . . God chose what is weak in the world . . . God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not . . . so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 1:26–30, ESV).
Why did God choose me? He chose you to demonstrate His character. He chose you that you may know Him and love Him. He chose you because He is love (1 John 4:8), He is gracious, He is merciful, and He has a glorious plan for you.