“The concept of divine election has always been, of course, one of the more controversial of all the biblical doctrines. We shudder at the long and sometimes violent history of controversy within the church between advocates of Augustinian Calvinism and Arminianism…Much of the debate over the meaning of election, predestination, reprobation and associated concepts has been carried on at a level of systematic abstraction and binary logic that seems oblivious to the way the Old Testament speaks of God’s choice of Israel. Between election in the Hebrew Scriptures of Jesus and election in the formulations of theological systems there sometimes seems to be a great gulf fixed. Few and narrow are the bridges from one to the other…From the range of texts that we have now considered, the following affirmations can be made about election in the Old Testament.
The election of Israel is set in the context of God’s universality. Far from being a doctrine of narrow national exclusivism, it affirms the opposite. YHWH, the God who chose Israel, is the God who owns and rules the whole universe, and whatever purpose he has for Israel is inextricably linked to that universal sovereignty and providence.
The election of Israel does not imply the rejection of other nations. On the contrary, from the very beginning it is portrayed as for their benefit. God did not call Abraham from among the nations to accomplish their rejection but to initiate the process of their redemption.
The election of Israel is not warranted by any special feature of Israel itself. When the people of Israel were tempted to think that they were chosen by God on the grounds of numerical or moral superiority to other nations, Deuteronomy very quickly removed such arrogant illusions.
The election of Israel is founded only on God’s inexplicable love. There was no other motive than God’s own love, and the promises he made to Israel’s forefathers (which included, of course, his promise in relation to the nations). We might paraphrase John 3:16, in a way that John would doubtless accept, ‘God so loved the world that he chose Abraham and called Israel.’
The election of Israel is instrumental, not an end in itself. God did not choose Israel that they alone should be saved, as if the purpose of election terminated with them. They were chosen rather as the means by which salvation could be extended to others throughout the earth.
The election of Israel is part of the logic of God’s commitment to history. The salvation that the Bible describes is woven into the fabric of history. God deals with the realities of human life, lived on the earth, in nations and cultures. His decision to choose one nation in history as the means by which he would bring blessing to all nations within history is neither favoritism nor unfairness.
The election of Israel is fundamentally missional, not just soteriological. If we allow our doctrine of election to become merely a secret calculus that determines who gets saved and who does not, we have lost touch with its original biblical intention. God’s calling and election of Abraham was not merely so that he should be saved and becomes the spiritual father of those who will finally be among the redeemed in the new creation (the elect, in another sense). It was rather, and more explicitly, that he and his people should be the instrument through whom God would gather that multinational multitude that no man or woman can number. Election is of course, in the light of the whole Bible, election unto salvation. But it is first of all election into mission.” (Christopher J. H. Wright, The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative, pp. 262-64)