Some time ago I wrote about the Tulipburger—the five points of the Reformed theology—each of which I likened to part of a burger. You can look it up in the archives. More recently, I began to take these points up one by one, with an article on total depravity. Today—if you’ll be so kind as to allow me to do so—I’d like to consider number two: unconditional election.
When we were kids, we’d often get up a game of baseball to play on the back lot. To do so, you’d gather a bunch together and then “choose up sides.” Depending on who won the toss of the coin, the “manager” who won, would choose the best player first. After that, choices would be made down the line to the one who was the poorest player. You remember how that worked, don’t you—especially, if you were either the best or the worst?
Well, choosing players is an example of conditional election. Each was chosen because of his abilities—something foreseen in him that would affect the manager’s choice.
We’re talking about unconditional selection (as good a translation as “election”). It’s something like the “manager” wanting to play ball, but unable to find a single other kid on the block who was interested. Instead of a crowd of boys bouncing up and down, saying “choose me,” they are all interested in something else. When he’s finally able to persuade a few to join him, he doesn’t look for those who are the best players—he settles for players at all.
The analogy’s not perfect, but think of God, selecting the players for His team. He chooses not because of ability, but out of His own free decision, Bill, John, Mike, and so on, in spite of their original lack of concern. Instead, He sends His co-manager around to convince them of their need to play ball, so that when they arrive on the field, they’re finally ready and anxious to play.
God saw nothing in any of us that He selected. It was from His own free, gracious decision that he selected you, believer—not because you were, originally, any more interested in “playing ball” with God than anyone else. Indeed, you were disinterested (to put it mildly). And it was not because you would be such a good player, either. But the Holy Spirit gave life to you, and to the rest of those on your team, to believe, and to desire to play ball with God.
But the team is incomplete. The Spirit is still at work convincing men of their need to play ball with God. If He’s at work in your heart, then trust in Christ and join His team (for further information about how to become a Christian, see other postings that explicate the matter).
Did you hear that? OK, let’s get out there on the field, teammates, and knock the stuffings out of that ball!