"Rebekah's children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad--in order that God's purpose in election might stand: not by works, but by Him who calls--she was told, 'The older will serve the younger.' Just as it is written: 'Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.'" Romans 9:10-13
Jacob supplies us with the clearest and most unmistakable illustration of God's sovereign election to be met with in all the Bible. The case of Jacob gives the most emphatic refutation to the theory that God's choice is dependent upon something in the creature, something either actual or foreseen, and shows that the eternal election of certain individuals unto salvation is due to no worthiness in the subjects, but results solely from God's sovereign grace. The case of Jacob proves conclusively that God's choice is entirely sovereign, wholly gratuitous, and based upon nothing but His own good pleasure.
The God of Scripture then, is the God who chooses one and passes by another. He is the One who exercises and exhibits His own sovereign will. He is one who shows Himself to be the Most High God, ruling in heaven and earth and disposing of His creatures according to His own eternal purpose. He is the One who singles out the most unlikely and unworthy objects to be fashioned into vessels of glory. Yet, He is the One who necessarily always acts in harmony with His own divine perfections.
Election is not, as some have supposed, harsh and unjust, but is a most merciful provision on the part of God. Had He not from the beginning, chosen some to salvation, ALL would have perished! Had he not before the foundation of the world chosen certain ones to be conformed to the image of His Son--the death of Christ would have been in vain, so far as the human race is concerned!
Reduced to its simplest terms, election means that God chose me before I chose Him. Our Lord said, "You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you." (John 15:16) We love Him because He first loved us. Election means that before I was born, yes, before the foundation of the world, I was chosen in Christ and predestined unto a place in God's family! Election means that we believed because He made us willing in the day of His power. Election then, strips the creature of all merit, removes all ground of boasting, strikes us helpless in the dust, and ascribes all the glory to God!
- A. W. Pink