That God knows in advance who will respond to his call of salvation is clear (Rom. 8:29; 1 Pt. 1:1-2). However, God’s choosing is not based upon his foreknowledge (knowing in advance) of how some will respond (contra Arminian, Wesleyan theology). Rather, God’s choosing of the elect is in accordance with his cognizance of who will respond (taking foreknowledge as the rational in addition to behavioral activity of God; see 1 Pt. 1:2). While foreknowledge in Scripture does carry the idea of intimately, actively, and affirmatively choosing, it necessarily bears the idea of prescience (knowing in advance), since God’s choices are cognitive and never made in the dark (Jn. 10:3). God specifically calls those whom he has chosen (Jn. 10:3; Acts 2:39; Rom. 8:28-30; 16:13; Eph. 1:188; 1 Thess. 1:4; 1 Pt. 2:9; 2 Pt. 1:3). The idea that all have the latent ability to respond to God’s universal call for salvation (prevenient grace) is implicitly denied by Scripture (Rom. 3:9-11). God calls the elect solely on the basis of his love and integrity (Deut. 7:7-9), not on any human merit or effort whatsoever. Only those whom the Spirit of God enables can and will become the elect of God (Jn. 6:44, 65; 15:16; 1 Thess. 1:4-5; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Pt. 1:2).
Some would assert that election is an unjust doctrine; viz., God chooses some and not others. However, given the fact that all people everywhere and at every time deserve only condemnation (Rom. 3:7; 5:16, 18), God is not obligated to dismiss anyone’s guilt. Instead, because God is just, he must act in accordance with his character and condemn the condemned. And so, extending mercy to some in salvation is amazing grace indeed and strictly of God’s own choosing (Rom. 9:18). Not to pardon others because of self-incurred guilt (unbelief) is an act of justice. Election would be unfair if God is required to be both just and merciful to all. Yet, the Scriptures, and an honest assessment of the human heart, are among the reasons why God is just. But only God’s mercy, pleasure, and will are the reasons for there even existing an elect of God (Rom. 9:16, 22-23; Eph. 1:5). God’s justice and mercy are impartial since he does not look to any qualities of the elect or the condemned in distinguishing between them (Rom. 2:11). His choices are purely free and purely full of justice, grace, and mercy! Any other view misses the biblical mark.
There…I said it!