There is a mindset that meanders itself through segments of Evangelical and Evangelistic Christianity and exposes itself pretty often in the ranks of these Christians. It is best known as Calvinism, named after a famous theologian given credit for best describing it. Before I go any further, I must say this article will probably be judged as a simple statement on an enormous subject. I cannot disagree, but I am only telling where I stand on it.
As any other doctrine or dogma there has to be scriptural ground.
There has to be ample substantiation in the complete writ of Scripture. In Romans 8 there are a few verses that indicate what God has done for us in redeeming us unto Himself. We are told in that verse that we are predestinated among other things. This is the buzz word. Predestinated means pre destined. Our destiny has been pre determined. We are told in other scriptures that we were chosen. That we were dead and have been regenerated. We all admit to having been lost. We didn't find ourselves, God did what was necessary to find us and to adopt us into a relationship whereby we call Him, "Abba!"
The words "Saved" and "Salvation" both describe an external deliverance. Something or someone had to save us. Now if you say, "God just threw us a life preserver and we must hold on." you have no idea of the New Birth process. Good works cannot save nor can they support salvation. Galatians shows that Christ and works will not mix.
I have said enough already that some may think I have already identified where I stand. Read on.
First of all, all of us have sinned. There is nothing in us nor anything we can do to extricate us from God's attitude towards our sinfulness. We have no access to God in our own strength. Our righteousness is as filthy rags. We are literally dead in our sins and trespasses. There is nothing you can do to please God by your own merit.
"God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son." When God knew we were helpless and beyond hope, He initiated a plan of redemption. The Old Testament is essentially a school master that reveals Christ as the complete redeemer. In due time, Jesus arrived upon this earth. Satan and wicked men who had tried to thwart that coming, tried to stop Him with every imaginable work and wile. God placed into and upon Him the entire plan of redemption of sinful humans. God literally became man, tempted in all points yet without sin and finished the demands of holiness for those who receive Him.
Salvation and redemption, both terms relating to God's work in bringing men into a right relationship with Himself, both are His work exclusive of man's aid or corroboration.
The Bible tells us that John, the Baptist preached repentance. It tells us that Jesus preached repentance. It tells us that Paul preached repentance. All these were preaching what must happen in order for salvation to take place. Some will say that even repentance has to be given by God, but the word is correctly defined as coming from inside. God uses it to bring about the new birth operation of God. A person is given eternal life as a result of a repentant heart that opens the mouth in confession of Jesus.
Finally, we must consider the term, "elect." When used as a noun in the scripture it actually applies to only two nominees. The first is Israel itself. God arbitrarily chose that nation through Abraham and has kept His promise to them. God is not through with them. They still have work to be done with them.
The second nominee of the term, "elect" is Jesus Himself. He is the elect of God. Ephesians chapter one detail this and adds that anyone who puts their trust in Jesus, automatically become elect in Him. Everything that God planned is produced in Christ.