As i have mentioned previously, i am a huge Star Wars fan. Nerd might be a better word.
And don’t even get me started on the new movies, because they are disappointing. (But that’s a topic for a different post.)
The main reason for this opinion is because Disney threw out the history of the galaxy i had studied for hours on StarWars.com as a child. Dozens of books had been written, chronicling Luke, Leia, and Han—and their children—in the years after the Emperor was defeated. These books were all summed up on StarWars.com under the “Expanded Universe” tab.
Now, a decade and a half (or more) later, i am finally collecting and reading these books. I came across the following passage in Kevin J. Anderson’s, Jedi Search:
“Trust me,” Luke said. He held the sheet-crystal paddles at arm’s length, bracketing Leia. When he tripped the skin switch, a thin slice of coppery light traced down Leia’s body from head to toe. Suspended in air above the control pack, a smaller echo of the copper scan-line reappeared in reverse motion, assimilating the data and constructing a tiny hologram of Leia.
It looked different from the small holo of Leia that Artoo Detoo had projected for Ben Kenobi. Instead, it was a wire-frame silhouette of her body, with color-coded lines tagged to readings that projected a column of numbers in the air. Surrounding the outline was a corona of flickering blue, faint but definite.
“Can you understand anything from that, Luke?” Admiral Ackbar said, peering closer.
“Let’s get another for comparison.” This time Luke pointed the paddles at Wedge, who flinched as the coppery scan line ran up and down his uniform. When his wire-frame holo appeared beside Leia’s, most of the color-coded details were similar—but his image showed no blue corona.
“Now let’s try you, Admiral.” He extended the paddles toward the Mon Calamarian, adjusting the control pack to take Ackbar’s alien physiology into account. When his scanned image appeared, it too lacked the blue aura.
“Leia, would you do it to me, just so we can be more sure?”
Leia handled the equipment reluctantly . . . But she operated the scanner easily, holding the sheet-crystal paddles on either side of Luke.
His image bore the bright corona.
“This is very valuable,” Luke said “You don’t need any particular skill with the Force to use this equipment. We can find people with Jedi potential just by scanning them. It will be a great help in finding candidates for my academy.”Kevin J. Anderson, Jedi Search, The Jedi Academy Trilogy: Book 1 (New York, NY: Del Rey, 2015), 42-43.
All that to say: Christians do not possess devices like this. We do not have an easy way to find out who belongs to God and who does not. We do not own “elect-dar.” Instead, the Bible is clear:
Now the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on Him will not be put to shame, for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, since the same Lord of all is rich to all who call on Him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the gospel of good things!Romans 10:11-15 (HCSB)
But this does not mean that election isn’t true. Two passages would argue that it is. The first is in “close” proximity to the one quoted above, and the second helps to further build the case for election.
We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers. And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified.Romans 8:28-30 (HCSB)
Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens. For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved.Ephesians 1:3-6 (HCSB)
To briefly discuss Romans 8:30, we see an unbroken chain. The ones who were predestined are called. This calling comes through the preaching of the Gospel, as described in Romans 10. The people who were predestined obey the call of the Gospel by believing, and when they believe, they are justified by faith. Election does not negate belief/faith.
So how do we know who God elected? How do we know where to focus our evangelistic efforts? Where is our force-sensitive seeking device like Luke Skywalker found in Jedi Search?
We don’t have one. Instead, we are called to do what Jesus commanded in Mark 16:15-16,
Then He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”Mark 16:15-16 (HCSB)
Verse 15 tells us what we are called to do. We must preach without worrying about who hears like a sower scatters seed just trying to get it out of the pouch at his waist (cf. Mark 4:1-25). We aren’t supposed to worry that someone who isn’t elect might get saved. Our prayer should be that every single individual on earth might be saved!
Verse 16 shows us how we can tell who is elect and who is not. If a person believes they are elect. If a person refuses to believe, then they are not.
A caution is necessary, though. Some people don’t believe the first time they hear the Gospel. You can’t confidently say, “Billy didn’t believe when I preached the Gospel to him. He’s not elect.” He could be. Your prayer should be that God would soften Billy’s heart so that he might believe and be saved. There is no space in biblical Christianity to declare whether someone is elect or not. We aren’t God; we don’t know (cf. Deuteronomy 29:29).
Plead with people to believe. Pray that God would lead people to believe. Thank God that He graciously allowed you to believe.
This is our calling as Christians.
The doctrine of election should spur us on to bold evangelism, not to laziness (or even worse–pride).
In this with you.
Soli Deo Gloria
Thanks for reading.