But Stephen, what about predestination? How does the idea of being predestined harmonize with what you have stated about election?
Let's consider some verses from Ephesians 1 to answer these questions. Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:4,5,7,11 - "Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will...in Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace...In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will."
Although this is a difficult passage, I believe our understanding of election harmonizes with it. I do not believe that Ephesians 1 (or anywhere else in the Bible) teaches that God has randomly selected certain individuals to be saved and others to be lost. That notion goes against so many plain Bible truths. God desires all to be saved (II Pet. 3:9), and it was because of His love for all that He sent His Son (John 3:16). He has not predetermined or forced certain ones to be saved or lost; He has given us free will and He allows us to make our own choices in life (though we will have to answer for them). Only an unjust God would randomly predetermine who would ultimately be saved and lost. Jehovah is not a God of this sort.
I believe that Ephesians 1 emphasizes whom God has chosen for salvation. He has chosen those who are "in Him" to be saved, and there is nothing random about it. Individuals are said to be "in Christ" because of their baptism (Gal. 3:27). Thus, to be "in Christ" and to be "holy and without blame" is to be saved. In other words, God has chosen or predetermined that those who are "in Christ" and those who are living in a manner that is "holy and without blame" are those who will be saved ultimately. That is what God has predestined! Nowhere do the Scriptures teach that God randomly chose those whom He would save (cf. I Tim. 2:4; Matt. 7:21-23). Yes, God has decided beforehand, or predetermined, that He would save a certain type of person--namely, those who are in Christ and living righteously!
Therefore, one can rightly conclude, as Troy Cummings has, that "God foreknew and foreordained the plan of salvation for man; He planned before, the conditions or terms and goals and purposes of His whole plan of redemption. But, each person is left free to choose, to make his own decision, as to whether he will accept or reject God's plan. God desires the salvation of every soul. But the final decision is left with each person; God holds him responsible for that decision."
Friends, what have you chosen? Have you decided to be one of the elect? God has predestined that the faithful in Christ will receive eternal life. Are you of that number?