God foreknows what will be because He has decreed what shall be. It is therefore a reversing of the order of Scripture, a putting of the cart before the horse, to affirm that God elects because He foreknows people. The truth is, He “foreknows” because He has elected. This removes the ground or cause of election from outside the creature, and places it in God’s own sovereign will. God purposed in Himself to elect a certain people, not because of anything good in them or from them, either actual or foreseen, but solely out of His own mere pleasure. As to why He chose the ones He did, we do not know, and can only say, “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight.” The plain truth of Romans 8:29 is that God, before the foundation of the world, singled out certain sinners and appointed them unto salvation (2 Thess. 2:13). This is clear from the concluding words of the verse: “Predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son,” etc. God did not predestinate those whom He foreknew were “conformed,” but, on the contrary, those whom He “foreknew” (i.e., loved and elected) He predestinated to be conformed. Their conformity to Christ is not the cause, but the effect of God’s foreknowledge and predestination.
To those who believe the elect are a people chosen go to heaven or are saved:
Rom 11:28 Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.
Why are the elect the enemy of the gospel?
The holy calling is according to God’s purpose. His purpose was given to us before the times of the ages. Both the Second Timothy and the Ephesians verses should be understood be two important elements. There is an election to something; what is being elected? Who are persons being elected? Who are the “us in Christ?”
There is nothing inherent in the meaning of the verb “to choose” that implies salvation. The common use of electing or choosing people for public office is a good English equivalent of the Greek verb. Many people are elected or chosen to office all the time. The verb is very generic.
The word to choose in Greek “ἐκλέγομαι” occurs 19 times in the New Testament. Only perhaps three or four times does this verb mean an election to salvation. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, an early scholarly work in English has been a basic reference book since 1885. In this book he lists at least five different types of election relating to this verb:
Craig Fisher lays out a case why Ephesians 1 is not about “individual salvation”. The conclusion:
Is a person chosen in Christ “before the foundation of the world” or “after believing?” When Paul says the “us in Him” he is referring to the body of Christ. The individual members of the body of Christ are not chosen until they exercise faith and are sealed with the Holy Spirit. The corporate group is chosen to be holy and blameless before Him. We do not know who is in this group until much later than the foundation of the world.
Maybe an analogy will help. The director says “the band is really fortunate this year, we will play in Hawaii this winter.” Of course each band member has to try out for their chair in the band. There remains a competition to determine who is going to be in the band. The individual members have not yet been determined. The corporate entity, the band, will go to Hawaii.
God chose the body of Christ to be holy and blameless before Him in love. The body of Christ is the “us in Him.” The individual members of the body have yet to be determined.
Jacques More writes about “election” in relation to the LXX:
In Pharaoh’s dream that Joseph interpreted a contrast between emaciated cows and fat fleshed quality cattle is made. The emphasis that prime and quality beef is in view is given by eklektos.
The best chariots and young men – guys in their physical prime – are seen as the best of their kind by eklektos.
The highest branches, the most desired country, the quality of solid tried stone, the clarity of the sun, with the pure You will show Yourself pure, all are expressed by eklektos.
There is an overwhelming and clear recognition by these that eklektos is about QUALITY.
This is the clear testimony of the Scripture text quoted regularly by Jesus and the apostles.
So that, with “quality” in mind with words like “pure”, “tried”, “fit”, what do you think of Jesus’ following words?
Many are called, but few eklektos.
Matthew 20:16 & 22:14
Is it not better recognised as: “few are fit” or, “few are up to the task”?
This is why I translate this as,
. . . for many are called, but few have mettle.
Matthew 20:16 & 22:14 JM
So, was Jesus selected?
Or, is He Special?
Were angels picked out?
Or, are they “the good ones”?
Answer: The evidence from the LXX points to the latter.