Who was elected? “Election,” “predestination,” “predetermined” are all words used in the Bible. How they are used and who they refer to has divided Christianity for centuries. Every Bible student should be careful to see these words in their contexts and use them in a Biblical way.
Some have developed a theology of election. They believe that God elected or predestined some individuals for salvation and other individuals to damnation even before the foundation of the world. Election means choice. Some say God choose who He wanted and didn’t want for salvation. A careful reading of passages like Ephesians 1 that mentions election, choice, predestination, etc. the emphasis is on “in Christ.” Those who he chooses, predestined, etc. are those “in Christ” or “in Him.” In other words, God didn’t predetermine who would be in Christ or outside of Christ, but He predetermined that those in Christ would receive these blessings.
A similar emphasis should be noted in Romans 8:28-30, sometimes referred to as the “golden chain” of election by these adherents. In vs. 28, God promises “all things to work together for good to those who love God.” To love Him would involve human choice. It then goes on to say that God foreknew that there would be those who would love Him and respond to His call. He foreordained these to be “conformed to the image of his Son” Those in Christ are predestined, called, justified, and glorified.
Those who come to the conclusion of unconditional predestination in Romans 9 need to keep reading. God has offered mercy to both Jews and Gentiles (9:24). “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom. 10:13). I’m a “whoever.” This calls for man to choose. It calls for freewill. This keeps us from the ridiculous position of needing to add “the elect” to every passage about salvation. God so loved “the elect” world (Jn. 3:16). Whoever “is elect” will call on the name of the Lord” (Rom. 10:13). Jesus gave His life a ransom for all “the elect” (1 Tim. 2:6).
It also stays true to what is repeatedly said about the nature of God. In Acts 10:34-35, Peter states “I most certainly understand that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.” God is certainly sovereign over His creation, and we have no right to question anything He might choose to do. However, when He tells us that He does not show partiality we may rest assured that this is true!
The Bible teaches predestination, but not unconditional predestination. God foreordained that He would save sinful man through the sacrifice of His Son. Those who respond to this gospel become part of His elect.