The Elect

{Note: This conversation is a continuation of a Q&A called “Revealed Doctrine.” You may find it helpful to review that exchange prior to this one. Jim. }

Jim – It’s me – take two.

Thank you for your generous and gracious response to our first go-around. You got it – this thing is not about us, it is about God. I could have just written that and saved us both a lot of time. 🙂

So, to your next question…

Q – How do we know that we are the Elect? What about the people who said “Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy, cast out demons and perform miracles in your name?” and He replies, “Depart from me, you workers of iniquity, I never knew you.” Didn’t those people believe they were Christians? What scriptures tell us that we are the elect?

Jim – That’s actually two questions, so we’ll handle them one-at-a-time. First, how do we know that we are the elect? I get asked that quite often and the answer is really quite simple. But, you need to know a bit of Bible history first.

God deals with mankind through covenants. Some of God’s covenants are unconditional, like the Abrahamic Covenant. It’s unconditional because Abraham was asleep when God passed through the divided animals that signified the striking of the covenant. God passed through in two symbols – a pillar of smoke and a lamp of fire.

“And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.” (Gen. 15:17)

“Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.” (Heb 6:17-18)

So, it was a covenant that God made with God. There are no humans in that deal, so no humans can mess it up.

The second major covenant of the Old Testament is the Mosaic covenant, struck with Israel at Mt. Sinai. That was strictly Israel’s covenant (the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) and it was completely conditional. If Israel lived up to God’s standards, He would pour out blessings. If they failed to keep His law, He would curse them. They failed, He scattered them.

Now, the third major covenant in Scripture is the New Covenant. It was established between God and Jesus; and the sacrificial animal through which they passed was His body on the cross. So, like the Abrahamic Covenant that preceded it, the New Covenant is an unconditional covenant of salvation by grace (dot org) through faith. Men are saved in the New Covenant without the conditions of the Law – the Old Covenant. In fact, there are no conditions whatsoever. God wrote our names in the Book of Life before the foundations of the world, sent His Son to redeem us, and will accomplish our particular redemption, sanctification and glorification.

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Rom 8:29-30)

So anyway, each of those covenants had signs, or seals, that marked the people who were included in the covenant. Abraham’s covenant was marked by the sign of circumcision.

“This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.” (Gen. 17:10-11)

Now, some folk get confused and think that Abraham was required to circumcise his offspring in order to ratify or keep the covenant. But, that’s not the case. The covenant had been struck, the promise had been made, and God required Abraham’s seed to be marked with a “token.” Every man who had that token was marked out as God’s property, under God’s covenant.

Then, the Mosaic Covenant came along. The sign, or token, of that covenant was Sabbath-keeping. Only Israel was required to keep the Sabbath because it was an emblem of the covenant they were under.

“Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep; for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you; everyone that defileth it shall surely be put to death; for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD, whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore, the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.” (Exod. 31: 13-16)

Now, once the New Covenant was established in Christ’s blood, a new emblem, a new sign, a new seal was required. It could not be something external, like cutting flesh. It could not be performance-based, like keeping a particular day. It had to be internal, in that it had to change people, bringing them from spiritual death into the marvelous light. And, we have just such a sign.

“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” (John 14:16-17)

The sign of the New Covenant is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Prior to Christ’s death, God was always external to mankind. Only the high priest could approach God, once a year, with the proper sacrifice. And, if anyone else went into the Holiest Place, God killed them. But, when Christ died, the veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom, signifying that the way into the Holiest place of heaven was now open. And, God deposited His Spirit into His people, His elect, as a sign of the covenant and as a surety of their salvation.

“Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; who hath sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” (2 Cor. 1:21-22)

So, the answer to your question – if you haven’t already figured it out – is that the elect are those people who have the Holy Spirit in them. The world cannot receive the Spirit, according to Jesus. Only the elect saints receive that Spirit because it is the earnest of our inheritance.

“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (Eph. 1:13-14)

Did you catch that? We are “sealed” with the Spirit. Once it is deposited in us, it is the surety that we make it all the way to our Heavenly estate. God did not distribute His Spirit randomly. It was placed in those elect people for whom Christ died, those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. And, it is an earnest, like a down payment, of everything else He has promised us. And, it will remain with us until the full and complete redemption of us – “the purchased possession” – purchased by His blood, bought with an eternal price, and bound for glory. Unto His praise and glory!

So, if you have the Spirit of God in you, drawing you to God, inspiring you to seek after Him and His word, turning you away from yourself and toward Heavenly things, then you are “elect.” Only the elect receive that gift. If you have the gift, you are among the elect. It’s that simple.

Fleshly men will never seek God. Sinful men don’t believe they need God. Deceived men think they’re doing just fine and they will be eternally fine, if there is a Heaven. But, the Spirit of God, once it indwells a person, produces repentance, produces faith and produces good fruit. Any person who claims to be Christian but does not show positive evidence of the Spirit of God at work in their life is fooling themselves. There are only kinds of people in the world – those moving toward God and those moving away. The difference between them is the indwelling Spirit.


Now, as for Jesus statement against those who listed their accomplishments, you must see it in the larger context. Jesus’ point was that not everyone who called Him “lord” was guaranteed salvation. It has been two thousand years and the Arminian church is still struggling with that fact. They think it is up to each individual sinner to “make Jesus your Lord and Savior.” But, He answered that fallacy long, long ago.

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Mat. 7:21)

Foolishly, people think that they can simply “make” Him Lord and then He is inexplicably obligated to save them. That’s frighteningly wrong. And, Jesus declared how fallacious that thinking is. Still, it’s taught persistently in the modern church.

The fact is, you don’t make Jesus anything. You add nothing to Him when you believe. You cannot make Him Lord; He already is Lord. And, you cannot make Him savior. He already is God’s designated means of salvation. You don’t make Him savior; He makes you saved. It’s about Him. It is not about the measly sinners who think they can put Him in a box and require Him to do their bidding. What bizarre thinking that is.

Anyway, that’s the context. He was declaring that simply calling Him Lord was not sufficient. You must also actually follow the will of God and live your life according to His will. In fact, said He, there will people in the final judgment who will claim –

“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matt 7:22-23)

They claimed that He was Lord, yet they stood before Him and listed their works, thinking He would be impressed and obligated. But, He undermined their thinking entirely. He said that it wasn’t up to them, their professions, or their works. It was entirely up to Him.

See? You just can’t escape this election thing. It’s everywhere.

Anyway, as for the notion that those folk were elect, that’s clearly errant. Yes, they may have believed themselves to be Christians. They followed a form of religion that they suspected was Christian and which they thought would result in their salvation. But, lots and lots of supposed “christianity” misses the central mark – to wit: Who is Christ? Who do you say He is? What has He accomplished? Why was it necessary? And, who’s in control here?

Just because people create a form of religion and call it Christianity, if it does not conform to the historic, biblical, doctrinal foundations, then it’s of no use at all. And that, I think, is the point of Christ’s parable.

Hope this helped clarify a couple things. Remember to view salvation from God’s perspective, not ours. And, remember that the salvation of people is a matter of God glorifying Himself. We add nothing to Him, but He adds infinite blessings to us. Don’t ever get those two facts reversed.

We’ll converse again soon.

Yours in our Savior,

Jim Mc.