(Titus 1:1-2) – 1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, 2 in hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began;
(2 Timothy 1:9) – 9 who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,
(Ephesians 1:4) – 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love:
God made a covenant with “His elect” people “before time began,” both corporately and individually. Eternal life (salvation) was already given to us as a “promise” (a covenant) “before time began,” and “before the foundation of the world.” It was a promise given to us “in Christ.” We were not chosen apart from Christ or in anyone else. We were chosen in Him. God the Father referred to Jesus as “My Chosen One” (Lu 9:35). He was chosen to be our redeemer, to be our salvation, to pay the price for our sins, to do for us what we are not able to do for ourselves. Our election is directly associated with His election. Before the foundation of the world, before time began, somewhere in eternity past, Jesus was chosen, and so were we. Just as surely as Jesus was chosen, so were we. When God looked upon His Son, He saw us, each and every one of us. God created the world with us in view. Our salvation was never in doubt, because it was made certain in Christ before He even created us, as if we had already experienced it.
I would like to clarify an important point. While our election is associated with Christ’s election, His election is not our election—as Arminian corporate election teaches. Arminian theology teaches that the only one truly chosen was Jesus, and that we become elect in Him (a mere status or title) when we get saved, where we are made the elect based on our union with Him at the time of faith in Him. In other words, according to this Arminian position, His election is our election. However, that’s not possible, because Jesus was chosen to save us, while we were chosen to be saved. He was chosen to be the giver of life, while we were chosen to be the receiver of life. Just as specific and certain as Jesus was chosen, so each and every one of us was specifically and certainly chosen in Him. It’s a gift of grace that was “given” to us before time began (2 Ti 1:9).
This was not promised to those who would not receive salvation. Nor was it promised to those who may or may not “decide” to “accept” the offer of salvation in Christ. That wouldn’t even make sense. It was promised to a certain group of people, as well as the individual members who make up that group. What’s true of the whole has to be true of its members. The Church is made up of individual members, so if God chose all the members as the whole, then each and every member has to be chosen as well. It simply would not make sense that God chose the group of believers, but not the individuals that comprise that group—because He did not choose an empty shell. When God chose people for salvation, He chose everyone we see in Revelation 5:9 and Revelation 7:9. What we see in those two passages is the completed Church of Christ, which includes an unknown number yet to be born and yet to be saved. Thus, when God chose His Church, He chose every person in the Church, those whom we see in those two passages. They were chosen for salvation, as Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 2:13:
(2 Thessalonians 2:13) – But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brothers and sisters beloved of the Lord, for that God chose you from the beginning for salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
“from the beginning” – (ASV, NASB, CSB, NET, KJV, NKJV)
“as first fruits” – (ESV, NIV, LEB)
Paul does not say that God chose salvation for them, but that He chose them for salvation. That’s a major distinction. God chose certain and specific people for salvation, otherwise, the terms “chose” or “chosen” or “the elect” or “chosen” really have no meaning. They’re just words. If there’s no actual choosing involved among humanity, then it’s a non-actual, inauthentic form of election. It would be an election in name only.
Just as Jesus did not pray for the world (the non-elect of the world – Jn 17:9), but for those whom the Father gave to Him—so is the Bible not a message to the world (except in the general sense of spreading the gospel message), but a secret message to His elect people, to those whom the Father has given to Him. The Bible is a love letter of redemption to those who were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4), to those whom God promised eternal life before time began (Tit 1:2; 2 Ti 1:9). It’s written in a Divine code, to be understood only by those who have been given the key (Lu 8:10).