“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” (Ephesians 1:4)
Although we cannot really understand how God could choose us (same Greek word as “elected”) before the creation of the world, we can rejoice in the fact and praise Him for “his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2 Timothy 1:9). The preceding verse (Ephesians 1:3) testifies we have received “all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ,” all “according to the good pleasure of his will” (v. 5), “according to the riches of his grace” (v. 7), and “according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself” (v. 9). It must thus all be “to the praise of the glory of his grace” (v. 6).
It is clear from this passage that God’s choice of us was not simply a matter of His foreseeing our choice of Him, but was a choice solely by His own will and grace: “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit” (John 15:16). This in no wise lessens our own responsibility to trust in Christ and to believe “the gospel of your salvation” (Ephesians 1:12-13), even though in our finite minds we cannot understand how to correlate these two concepts. Both are true, because both are taught in His Word, and both are occasions for rejoicing because they reflect both His love and His omnipotence.
God told Jeremiah: “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jeremiah 31:3). Before the world began, God knew each of us and loved us, and prepared to die to save us from our sins and then to draw us to Himself. “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it” (Psalm 139:6). We can only thank and praise Him, and then seek earnestly to live fully for Him all our days. HMM