Home > Commentary, Theology > The NFL Draft: A Picture of Election

The NFL Draft: A Picture of Election

NFLWhile watching and reading about this weekend’s NFL Draft, I was struck by how crudely appropriate a picture of our salvation it is. Namely, it is a crude picture of God’s election of believers. How is this so?

Think about this. Each team has in mind the kind of players it wants to draft long before the draft begins. Each team knows the needs that must be met before their plan can take shape and succeed. Out of all the available players, the team comes up with a “wish list” of players to fill each need. Assuming the team drafts every player on its list, now the team woos their draftees with a contract, which is eventually accepted and signed by the players.

In the same way, God has a plan in mind for His creation. He not only knows, but has decreed exactly what must happen, exactly who must act in which way in order for His plan to succeed. Before He ever implements His plan, He fills out his “wish list” from all the humans that He will bring into existence that will determine the “who must act” portion of His plan. These are His elect, determined from before the foundation of the earth. God then sets out to “woo” those elect through His grace expressed in the person and work of Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit. And Scripture says that every one of these elect will eventually “sign the contract.” The Spirit will not fail in His work.

But the story does not end there.

An NFL team will spend millions of dollars and thousands of man-hours developing their newly drafted talent. If the rookie is not developed, or simply refuses to develop, he will be cut from the team. He will never truly have been a part of the team. Summer camp becomes a training ground, where the rookie must prove himself constantly, learning through experience as well as by the example of veteran players. The rookie must also learn to listen to his coaches and study his playbook before he will ever be allowed to do more than just practice during the week and sit on the bench during games.

In the same way, God has spared no expense developing His elect. New believers immediately face challenges, and unless they are discipled, they will fall away. “False converts” will simply refuse to be discipled. If there is no change in a new believer’s life to mirror the supposed change in heart, there are serious reasons for believing this “rookie” is not a believer. The church becomes the new believer’s training ground. He will be fed and nurtured, given opportunities to prove himself. He will learn from his pastor and mature Christians within the congregation. He will be taught to study Scripture. He will be trained for the opportunities he will receive to gain experience in living out his salvation. If he does not learn to listen to his pastor and “elder” Christians, nor does he study his Bible, there will be no place of service for him, and he will become a “pew-warmer.”

And ultimately, one day he will look up in awe and wonder, and with tears in his eyes cry out to the Lord, “Out of all the players You could have drafted to fulfill your great plan, You drafted me. Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner!”

Would that we all had this attitude. Selah.

Categories: Commentary, Theology
  1. May 1, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    However, the players still have a say in the outcome. They tryout to prove their worth. What they do or not do, can or cannot do, has great bearing on the outcome of the draft. They are in the draft because of their merits, not because a team picked them before they learned football.

    This is completly opposite of election. God chooses us before the foundations of the world. Our performance has no bearing on His choice. Election is unmerited and unconditional.

  2. May 1, 2007 at 2:35 pm

    Did I not essentially say as such in my third paragraph? God determines the “who must act.” We don’t.

  3. May 1, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    You did. But that negates the validity of the NFL draft as an analogy of election. Which is my point.

  4. May 1, 2007 at 6:53 pm

    Pft. If anything, the draft can (and does) show how it works. A little thing like “the pros gotta play college ball first” doesn’t necessarily invalidate it. You can be drafted without any prior football experience, you know. And it’s been done. Merit does not mean you get drafted. All you did was show that the pro draft is that two dollar term we like to throw around – “man-centered.”

    All the same, draftees have no control over when they are picked and which team drafts them, or even if they get picked at all, whether they were big stars like Peyton Manning or benchwarmers like Tom Brady. Just like us. You could be a good little boy, all the right skill sets, Bible knowledge, etc. and still never come to saving faith; or you could be the worst possible sinner out there and be elect.

    Merit has nothing to do with election, agreed. And merit, in principle, does not have to drive the NFL draft. They could draft you next April if they wanted.

  5. May 1, 2007 at 9:45 pm

    {wiping spit off screen…}

    LOL!! I DO have skills though! Ok…I USED to.

    I understand where you are trying to go with the analogy. I’ll leave it at that.

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