Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him--a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all. So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.
The “elect of God” is an election that corresponds to a covenant. It is correct to refer to the Jews as the elect of God because their election corresponds to an election that they have with God through Abraham. (Matthew 24:22-24, 31) It is also correct to refer to Christians as the elect of God because our election corresponds to an election that we have with God through Jesus Christ. However, what I would like to know, is what covenant justifies calling an unbelieving Gentile the elect of God?
John Hagee states: “Jesus called a Gentile woman, a dog. He never called the Gentiles His brethren. Let me remind you of something. We did not get plugged in until the cross. We had no basis of standing with God until the cross. There’s where we were in Galatians 3 when Paul said you were outside the covenance of Israel, without hope and without God. That’s very important. Then at the cross, we were plugged in, and we received the riches of Abraham, and we received healing, and we received adoption, and we received all the cornucopia of the blessings of God. But before the cross, we were castoffs. You need to understand that.” (emphasis mine)
Calvinists seize on the word “chosen,” but does the passage say anything about certain unbelievers being unconditionally chosen for salvation, while passing over other, non-elect, unbelievers? Rather, the passage talks about Christians being in a chosen status, that is, a favored and “beloved” status with God, which, of course, is due on account of Christ. But when Calvinists hear that, they immediately ask, “So does that mean that God has chosen us because we first chose Him, even though Jesus states at John 15:16 that we did not first choose Him but He first chose us?” But, even that verse doesn’t say what Calvinists require, because it simply talks about the choice of disciples, one of which being Judas the betrayer, which thus Calvinists readily admit that that verse is speaking of election to discipleship, rather than election to salvation, though that does not stop Calvinists from insisting that this is how it must also go with salvation as well, despite there being no support from the verse to infer so. So to return to the question, I agree that God does not choose us because we chose Him. That’s really a misunderstanding of what’s going on in Election. Being “chosen of God” speaks of a favored status with God that we have on account of Jesus Christ, just as, by analogy, Mephibosheth was held in a favored status by David, and chosen for adoption into his family, on account of Jonathan. If, on the other hand, Mephibosheth was never born in Jonathan’s family, then he never would have gotten the honors that received from David. The point is that his chosenness, so to speak, is derived from a position. Fore more on Election, see here.
Calvinist, William MacDonald, comments: “First of all, he addresses the Colossians as the elect of God. This refers to the fact that they had been chosen by God in Christ before the foundation of the world. God’s electing grace is one of the mysteries of divine revelation. We believe the Scripture clearly teaches that God, in His sovereignty, has chosen men to belong to Christ. We do not believe that God has ever chosen anyone to be damned. Such a teaching is directly contrary to Scripture.” (Believer’s Bible Commentary, p.2010, emphasis mine)
MacDonald adds: “Election refers to His sovereign, eternal choice of individuals to belong to Himself.” (Believer’s Bible Commentary, pp.2290-2291, emphasis mine)
Of course, if some unbelievers are, in fact, secretly and unconditionally chosen to salvation, then how can moderate Calvinists simultaneously shield themselves from the same conclusions as the hard-line Calvinists, who conclude that if God has secretly chosen only a few (percentage-wise, wide road vs. narrow path) unbelievers to salvation, then it stands to reason that the rest of the unbelievers who are not chosen to salvation, have thus been chosen to damnation by omission (or otherwise called the doctrine of Preterition, as the hard-line Calvinists insist that the doctrine of Election and Preterition rise and fall together, which is simply acknowledging the obvious, whereas moderate Calvinists ignore it).
Nevertheless, according to MacDonald, the way in which people are chosen by God “in Christ” is by virtue of having been chosen by God “to belong” to Christ. Refer to the discussion on Ephesians 1:4. Some Calvinists, as a result, conclude that by virtue of an eternal, secret, unconditional Election, that they were eternally mediated to the good graces of the Father, before Jesus ever went to the Cross:
One Calvinist responds: “Do Calvinists secretly believe that God chose them for some reason other than their need for salvation? Would I, as a Christian, believe that God chose me for some other reason than my need for salvation? Yes, I do. God chose me for His glory, for His pleasure, for His purposes. Sure I had a need for salvation. But that is not why He saved me primarily. ... In the Bible, God does not say He chose us because of our desperate need. He chose us before our need ever arose.”
The contrast between Calvinists and Arminians is that whereas Arminians believe that they have become reconciled to the Father through the blood-covenant of the Son, Calvinists believe that they were reconciled to the Father through a choice-covenant of Election, before Jesus ever went to the Cross, since after all, Calvinists believe that they were chosen independent of their need for salvation, and chosen solely for the sake of God needing to create objects on which He could manifest His attribute of mercy, while choosing other objects on which He may manifest His attribute of wrath.