God said that Israel was His chosen people. Is this an Old Testament saying or are all Christians considered chosen as it seems in the New Testament? Will Jews who do not believe in Jesus be considered chosen? Please explain “chosen.”
The expression “Chosen People” primarily refers to the Jewish people or the nation of Israel. It is also true that God has chosen individuals to become Christians and somtimes we call them chosen, too. As a result we look at Israel as God’s chosen people and at Christians as people whom God has chosen to live with Him in heaven. Will Jews who do not believe in Jesus be considered chosen? They will be considered a chosen people but not for eternal life in heaven. God has told us that there is only one way to enter heaven. It is not by race or being born into a country. There is only one way to enter heaven.
And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved. (NASB) Acts 4:12
Promise To Israel
The nation of Israel became God’s “Chosen People” when God promised Abraham that He would make his children become a great nation. This is a wonderful miracle because Abraham and his wife Sarah did not have children. Sarah could not have any children. The Lord knew this and so He promised Abraham something he wanted. Have you ever wondered if God does not care about what you want? Sometimes He just gives us our wants and other times He waits for the right time. God could have given Abraham children at any time, but God had something more wonderful for Abraham. He wanted Abraham tp learn about faith and the blessings that follow. Here is the promise of our Lord.
Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (NASB) Genesis 12:1-3
Abraham had a decision to make and he made the best one. He left the comfort of his home and relatives in the Ur of the Chaldeans.
Today the Israelites are called the Chosen People because God was faithful and fulfilled His promise to Abraham. Why did God do this? He did not do this because they are better people but because He had made a promise to Abraham and loved Abraham’s children.
For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the LORD loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers . . . (NASB) Deut. 7:6-8
God chose them out of all the peoples of the earth.
. . . the LORD has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. (NASB) Deut. 14:2
Promise To Everyone
In the same way, God has chosen people to be His children out of the world, some Jews and some Gentiles.
For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory. (NASB) 2 Timothy 2:10
Yet, anyone who wants to be His child can make that decision.
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name . . . (NASB) John 1:12
All that each of us needs to do is believe in Jesus Christ. A paradox exists in our understanding. Scripture teaches that God has chosen us to be His children and it teaches that we have a responsiblity to choose Him. There are two previous questions and answers that discuss this important point. I would encourage you to study the answer.
God chooses each of us for different things for different reasons. He has made our physical appearances different, and He has given each of us different spiritual gifts. He has chosen some of us for salvation and some to be His Chosen People. Only God knows why He does this. His Chosen People are chosen by birth but anyone who wants to be His spiritual child and go to heaven can make that decision.
And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. (NASB) 1 John 3:23