In Romans 9:11- we have one of the strongest statements on election. Speaking of God’s choice of Isaac rather than Esau Paul says, “though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls.” Further on in the chapter Paul summarizes our role or rather non-role in election. “So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who has mercy” (Rom 9:16). The grace of God in election precedes any and all human activity. In other words, election is not contingent upon our activity, our obedience, or even our faith. There is no human responsibility in the doctrine of election. This is the point of Romans 9.
Election and regeneration are two acts of grace that take place apart from any faith. We do not believe with the result of becoming elect. We are chosen and therefore we believe. We do not believe and then receive regeneration. We are born anew and then we believe. Faith is gift of grace that attaches us to the other facets of God’s saving work. The point I am drawing attention to is that election, which is the fountainhead of salvation, is profoundly God-centered. God is jealous to preserve his sole authority and initiative in our salvation. Election leaves us with no doubt that we had absolutely nothing to do with being rescued from God’s judgment.