I’ve been thinking a lot about the doctrine of election. Mainly because I have been doing a lot of research in the Minor Prophets. The Prophets were addressing the nation of Israel, which was elected by God to be his nation among the many nations. The problem though was that even though they were an elect nation Israel was made up of a bunch of people who disobeyed God and were punished for their sin. How can individuals be elect and not obey God? This is a troubling place to be.
The doctrine of election as played out in traditional reformed (calvinist) theology makes election sound like God is electing individuals to salvation. But there are no individual examples of election to salvation for individuals. Election is always talked about corporately.
I am an individual who has placed my faith in Jesus’ saving work on the Cross. And I am saved. But am I elect?
If I’m reading scripture through a lens that says that election is corporate, then it changes from I am elect, to we, the Church, are elect. The Church is God’s chosen plan to carry out the mission of rescuing humans from sins and we proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.
This underscores the notion that our job as Christians is not to just secure our individual salvation. Instead it is about trying to help as many people as possible receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to become part of the Community of Faith, through which we are encouraged and equipped to help others find grace and so on.
Is election a biblical idea? Yes. But instead of I am among the elect. It may be better to say, we are working in God’s elected plan to rescue humanity from sin.