(Reprinted from my commentary on Ephesians 3:9-12)
God chose to allow man into His presence only through faith in His Son. Those who approach Him according to that one way, are allowed, and are therefore, the chosen or the elect. Those who attempt to approach Him any other way, are rejected, and are therefore, the non-chosen or non-elect.
When it comes to the doctrine of election, it’s all about that one plan, that one way of salvation that we’ve been talking about in this passage. It’s all about His Son, Jesus, His Chosen One (Luke 9:35). Those who come to God through faith in His Chosen One, become elect through their identification with the Elect Son.
Just as Adam was chosen to give birth to the human race, and just as Abraham was chosen to give birth to a nation, so was Jesus chosen to give birth to a people that God has called out of this world for Himself. Through faith in Christ, we are born into God’s Chosen family. It’s through this new-birth that we as individuals become the elect. We are the elect as individuals because of our birth into the elect people of God, which was brought forth through His Elect Son.
Individuals are elect human beings through birth. Individuals are elect Jews through birth. Individual Christians are elect through birth (the new-birth). We are not members of the elect people of God because we are the elect; that doesn’t even make sense. We are elect as individuals only in the sense that we join ourselves to the elect people of God through the new birth. It’s a people group that God has chosen, and not individuals, per se.
Election is like a river that flows from Christ, and must, therefore, be entered into to become one of the elect. The river of election does not flow outside of Christ. That’s why Paul said that “he has chosen us in him” (Eph 1:4).
In other words, the river of election (the elect people of God, the Church) flows in the Elect Christ, and flows from the Elect Christ, and must be entered into in order to become a part of this river of election. Election is not a tag that’s been pinned on us as individuals, and something that we carry outside of Christ. Election is only “in Christ,” and can only flow from Him, and must be entered into through faith in Him.