“And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him.” (Mark 3:13 ESV)
I know it makes us uncomfortable, but the Bible does not shy away from using God-centered language when mentioning our salvation. And in the above passage, it is the same thing—except in this context Jesus is calling his disciples.
This verse may seem very obscure but it shows us something important about God. He is the one who initiates.
All throughout the Bible we see, time and time again, that God does this, God does that. And in regards to salvation, the language is always centered on what God did, not what we did.
And we should be okay with that. We should always be okay with what the Bible teaches.
At the end of the day, the Bible is rich with this language because salvation is of the Lord (Ps. 3:8). The gospel is God’s gospel. It was his idea, his plan, his mission. And it’s only by sheer, sovereign grace that he decided to save us (Eph. 2:8).
In the italicized verse, it shows that Jesus picked the disciples—those whom he desired. The same is true with God and our salvation. He chose those whom he desired to choose (Rom. 9; Eph. 1; Jn. 6, 10). It was solely from his sovereign will and good pleasure.
Many get offended that the Bible uses this language—and many deny it does so. But it’s too important of a truth to skirt around, deny, or ignore. God chose who would be saved. And he did so because he’s God and does whatever he pleases. But he’s also good! It’s not as if he chose out of obligation or revenge. No, he chose out of grace, of mercy, of good will.
Friends, let the reality of God’s choosing — of His election of the church — be a comforting thought to ponder. If you are a Christian it is because God decided, out of pure sovereign grace, to save you. Let us thank Him!