Every human being, by nature, is not basically good in the spiritual-ethical sense of the word, but totally wicked in heart, mind, and will, unable to do anything pleasing to God and bent on doing what God hates (Psalm 14:1-3, Romans 3:9-23, I Corinthians 2:14). God did not create man this way, but our first father Adam fell into sin and his sinfulness spread to all his offspring, including us (Romans 5:12ff).
Before time began, God loved certain human beings out of the whole human race and determined to save them, but not the rest of humanity. He chose this massive body of individuals from all times and places, all nations and races, all social and economic strata, to be His special people through Christ Jesus. He chose them unconditionally, not because He foreknew that they would choose to believe in Christ, but purely because He loved them and was pleased to save them and give them the gift of faith in Christ (Deuteronomy 7:6-8, John 15:16, Romans 9:10-24, Ephesians 1:3-6).
In the fullness of time, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into this world to pay for the sins of His people, to pay the ransom price to redeem them, by laying down His life on the cross of Calvary (John 3:16, Matthew 20:28, John 10:11). He suffered the wrath of God against the sins of His people as He was forsaken on the cross (Isaiah 53:4-11, Matthew 27:46). He did not die for all men head for head, but for all those whom the Father gave Him out of all nations in His decree of election (John 10:27-29).
God now works in the hearts and lives of His chosen and redeemed people through His Holy Spirit, graciously and irresistibly making them alive, drawing them to Himself, and working faith in them (Ephesians 2:1, John 6:44, Philippians 1:29). His grace is given only to His elect. It is irresistible. It does not depend on the will of man to accomplish its task. But it sweetly and powerfully bends the will of the child of God so that he or she comes to Christ and believes on Him. That does not mean God forces us to believe against our will. Rather, God upholds our will and moves us so that we choose to believe, which is the fruit of His grace in us, and not of ourselves (Ephesians 2:8, Philippians 2:12-13, Romans 9:16, Matthew 13:11).
Preservation of the Saints
God not only begins His work of salvation in our hearts, but also preserves us in it and finishes it until the day of our death or the day of Christ’s return (Philippians 1:6). He does not merely get us started in the faith and leave it up to us to remain in it. But He holds us in His hand and keeps us from falling away or being plucked away by the devil (John 10:28-31). The phenomenon of Christians abandoning the faith does not contradict this. They were never true believers to begin with (I John 2:19, Matthew 13:18-23). Some true believers do fall away temporarily, but they are always restored in time. This is a tremendous comfort to us who believe in Christ.