In Colossians 3:12 Paul tells the Colossians that they are ‘God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved.’ The concept of being chosen by God goes back to the Israelites, whom God chose to be his people. But in the new covenant, God has also chosen people outside of Israel to be his people, as we saw yesterday.
Now ‘both Jew and Greek, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free’ are members of God’s household, chosen and adopted and brought into the family. Notice the two adjectives that follow ‘chosen’: holy and dearly loved. These two words describe the nature of those whom God has chosen and adopted.
First, they are holy. We must be careful not to assume that the Colossians (or us, for that matter) are holy in terms of their behaviour. The word holy refers to that which is sacred and special, and should be cared for because it is sacred and special. We are people in whom Christ dwells. We are holy because God has chosen us.
Second, those God has chosen are dearly loved. Do you know how much God loves you? It is beyond your imagination. God loved you into existence and has given you life and breath and grace and sustenance all of your days. You are not merely someone God likes (though he does): you are someone God loves. Eternal love has chosen you: you did not merit this love, and therefore you cannot lose it.
You and I have been chosen by God. God’s Spirit bears witness, with our spirit, that we are children of God (Romans 8:15-16). Now we can live without fear. We are not slaves, we are children. God went to the furthest reaches to find us, and sacrificed everything to make us his, because in his eyes we are holy and dearly loved.
God has chosen me – not merely all people – but me specifically, because in his eyes I am holy and in his heart I am dearly loved. I will live this day with the confidence and courage that comes from knowing that I have been chosen by him to live forever with him.
Gracious Abba, I give you thanks for all that you have done to bring me into your family of faith. Jesus, you willingly went to the cross that I might be rescued from the dominion of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of light. Thank you for choosing me and making me your child, holy and dearly loved. Amen.
When you were growing up, did you have a strong sense from your parents or some other relative that you were special and loved? If so, what helped you to feel that way?