2 Thes.2:13,14 – But we should always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This verse gives us a glimpse into one of the great mysteries of God- Election. We see this mystery all throughout the scripture. Jesus said in John 15, “You have not chosen Me but I have chosen you”. Paul said in Ephesians “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world”. Peter called us “a chosen generation”. Election is obviously Biblical, but it has been the focus of contention and disagreement in the church since the beginning.

In today’s passage, we see how God implements His election. Paul said we are chosen by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. This is critical- the word sanctify literally means set apart for purity and holiness. Sanctification and election are inseparable; His drawing alone separates us from the spirit of the world. Here is how Brian Simmons describes today’s verses.

“These two verses (13–14) contain some of the most wonderful truths of the New Testament. Read them over again slowly and think about all that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit have done for us (e.g., his eternal love, the drawing work of the Holy Spirit, sanctification or being set apart for holiness, faith in Jesus, and much more). Paul states in v. 14 that the purpose of our salvation is more than being set free from guilt; it is so that we would share in and possess the glory of Christ (John 17:10, 22).”

Sharing and enjoying the glory of God is connected closely to holiness. How does this happen? The Holy Spirit unveils our heart to the goodness of the Lord. We are convicted of our sin. He grants us repentance and gives us a new heart and fills us with His love. This new love is like nothing else, it takes away the attraction of the world from our hearts. This new life or new nature in us shuns the world and loves to be with the Lord. This is the power and beauty of electing love.

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