Matthew 24 and Mark 13 record Jesus’ instructions about the end times. Threats to the elect and God’s care for them are highlighted in these passages.
The elect are mentioned in 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and 2 Peter.
Paul wrote to Timothy, “Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, so that they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2.10).
Paul often used the example of his suffering to encourage proper behavior in the churches he served.
In one instance he wrote, “We are afflicted in every way but not crushed, perplexed but not driven to despair, persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed,
“Always carrying around in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies.
“For we who are living are always being handed over to death for Jesus’s sake, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our mortal flesh.
“So death is at work in us but life in you” (2 Corinthians 4.8-12).
When Paul wrote his second letter to Timothy, he was suffering in a Roman prison, abandoned by some of his disciples, and anticipating execution by Nero.
All of this was for the elect. Who are the elect and why are they worthy of such loving support?
The Biblical understanding of “the elect” has its roots in God’s choice of Israel.
“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on earth to be his people, his treasured possession” (Deuteronomy 7.6).
The elect is people who have been “chosen” by God to be his “treasured possession.”
God’s holiness refers to his character which encompasses love, justice, and righteousness. People who are “holy to the Lord” are to be known by behavior that reflects God’s character.
The Old Testament prophets frequently challenged Israel to conform to the kind of behavior that reflects God’s character.
It is a profound honor to be chosen by the Creator. God’s chosen people were blessed but also commissioned to partner with God in his redemptive purposes.
Like the Hebrew nation, followers of Christ are the “elect” of God. He has chosen us to model his character and to join his mission.
God’s original purposes have not changed with his chosen people. We are to display God’s character in every aspect of our lives, while we serve his mission.
We “obtain our salvation” when we experience the fullness of the life God has intended for us. Salvation is a gift of God that has been given through the crucifixion, resurrection, and gift of the Holy Spirit.
I often quote Dallas Willard and speak of living a Jesus-kind-of-life. That phrase captures what is involved in correct living as God’s chosen people.
Let’s strive to live a Jesus-kind-of-life and experience the best life possible for others and us.
A True Statement
Why is Paul willing to rot away in a Roman cell? Why does he challenge the church to live like Jesus, even when it involves suffering?
This is why.
The saying is sure:
If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him;
If we deny him, he will also deny us;
if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
he cannot deny himself. (2 Timothy 2.11-13)
We have a choice. Which side of God’s history do we want to experience?
If we want to live life to the max and participate with God in his rule, we will commit our lives to his purpose.
If we are willing to risk hearing the tragic words, “I never knew you,” we will deny God entrance into our lives.
God will never violate his nature. He is faithful, even when humans are faithless.
The elect has been given the greatest gift any human could imagine.
— The Greatest Being of All chooses us to be his friend.
— As we live in a relationship with him, will transform our character to resemble his.
— God invites us to be his partner in the recreation of the world.
Our answer to God’s choice should receive a resounding “yes” from us.
Rudy Ross and I have produced a video on this passage. It can be found on the Bob Spradling channel.
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