Until recently I had never heard of the doctrine of election. How can I know if I am among the elect?
The Bible in many places teaches that our salvation is ultimately due to the electing grace of God, made before He created the earth and influenced only by His own perfect and free will (1 Peter 1:1-5; 2:6-9; Matthew 24:21-31; John 15:16-19; Romans 8:28-34; 9:11-16; Colossians 3:12-13; 2 Timothy 2:10; Ephesians 1:4-6). When writing to the church at Thessalonica, Paul said, "Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power...” (1 Thessalonians 1:4-5). How did he know they were elect? It wasn’t because of their ethnic background, or because of their sincerity. He knew they were of the elect because when he preached the gospel to them, they received it. Acts 13:48 confirms this truth that receiving the gospel of Jesus Christ is evidence of one’s being an elect child of God: "And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” Some have mistakenly concluded that election is a scheme to exclude willing salvation seekers. To the contrary — if you are convicted of your sin and see your ruined state apart from mercy, if you come to Christ with nothing to offer and no demands to make, if you rest your case in His hands and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, you have evidenced your election in Him. The hungry, thirsty, and willing are not excluded, but rather are fully embraced in God’s eternal purposes and can rejoice to know their salvation is all in Christ.