Yesterday I focused on God’s sovereignty in salvation as evidenced by election (1 Thess 1:4). Listen to Paul’s words from the next chapter:
They [the Jews mentioned in vv. 14-15a] are not pleasing to God, but hostile to all men, hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved (2:15b-16a)
Because of the doctrine of election I cannot take any credit for my or anyone else’s conversion, and I can have a genuine confidence that God will save souls. If God did not choose to save some my preaching and witnessing would be a waste of time. Because he has chosen to save some that helps me to faithfully keep spreading the Word (cf. Acts 18:9-10).
Can I come to the conclusion on the basis of the doctrine of election that since God will save souls that he doesn’t need me to preach the gospel? Paul’s words in 2:15b-16 are clear: if the gospel is not spoken to the lost they cannot be saved.
Paul’s words also show that there is no contradiction between God’s absolute sovereignty and man’s responsibility. Hindering the gospel prevents the conversion of sinners.
Spreading the gospel message is the means God has established to save those whom he has chosen to save.
Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent?