Man cannot save himself in whole or in part. Only God can save Man. The good news of the Gospel is that God has provided a way of salvation through Christ (1 Cor. 15:1-4). But to understand God’s way of salvation, we have to again go back to the eternal mind of God in predestination.
Before all things were created, God foreordained to divide all mankind into two groups. Some would be His people and the rest would be left in their sins (Rom. 9). First, let us look at what the Bible teaches concerning the doctrine of election. In its simplest form, it is this: “He chose us” (Eph. 1:4). He did this in eternity past, not in time (2 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 1:9; Eph. 1:4). Those whom He chose are called “the elect” (Matt. 24:22, 31; Mark 13:20; Luke 18:7, etc.). They are sinners who have been chosen to receive salvation (1 Thess. 5:9; 2 Thess. 2:13). What moved God to choose them in the first place? God chose them by sovereign grace alone (2 Tim. 1:9; Deut. 7:7-8). God elected them to receive mercy (Rom. 9:23), to go to Heaven (Matt. 25:34), to be made perfectly holy (Eph. 1:4), and to be totally glorified (Rom. 8:29-30). God chose the elect “in Christ” (Eph. 1:4; 2 Tim. 1:9: Rom. 16:13).
In a general sense, God wills all men to be saved (1 Tim. 2:4). But in another, higher sense, God chose only some sinners to be saved. When He chose them, He wrote their names down in the Book of Life (Luke 10:20; Rev. 13:8, 17:8). The Father chose them and gave them to Jesus (John 17:2, 6, 9,24). God chose the elect. Christ is also God, so He had a vital part in this choice. What was it? Jesus chose His own bride from among the mass of sinful humanity. This was His right and privilege. He said, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you” (John 15:16). Nor did He choose the elect on the basis of anything He foresaw in them, for all He foresaw in their nature was sin. He “foreknew” the elect in the sense of knowing them in love from all eternity (Rom.8:29; 1 Pet. 1:2; cf. Amos 3:2). Remember Scripture says, “He chose us.” He did not choose us because He foresaw we would choose Him. Rather, He chose us solely out of free grace.
This election is personal. He chose the elect by name. And since it is not conditional upon anything in us, it is absolutely sure that all the elect will be saved one day. Therefore, we have Unconditional Election. Election is irreversible. When one comes to believe in Christ unto salvation, he then has the privilege of knowing that he is one of the elect (2 Pet. 1:10).
But God did not choose all men. He did not choose Satan or any of the demons, and He did not choose all sinful human beings. Some are elected, the rest were left in their sins (Rom. 9). This is the doctrine of Reprobation, or non-election. Since they were not chosen to salvation but left in their sins, they were foreordained to receive the due penalty for their sins-eternal wrath (1 Thess. 5:9; 1 Pet. 2:8; Prov. 16:4). Their names were not written in the Book of Life in eternity past (Rev. 13:8, 17:8), nor were they ever known by Christ in the election of grace (Matt. 7:23). In time, God leaves them in their evil nature and even hardens their hearts and further blinds their minds (John 12:39-40; Rom. 9:18, 11:7; Deut. 2:30; Josh. 11:20). God is fattening them up for the slaughter which they deserve.
But lest anyone think this is unfair, God replies, “Who are you, O Man, that answers back to God?” (Rom. 9:20). No man can blame God, for Man is sinful Man and God is a holy God. No man deserves to be elected; all deserve to be rejected. The wonder is not that God rejected some sinners; the wonder is that He chose any sinners to be saved.