Mark Mattes and Steven Paulson on election
How does God make faith? That is always the question of theology. […] Does God determine before all time who will be chosen and who will be damned, like picking out potatoes from a sack? Does God wait and take those who have chosen for themselves? Does God give encouragement, or help, or power to some in greater measure than to others, and then prefer them? Does God crown a good-faith effort, or perhaps begin a process that the person must complete? Such speculations come to an end in the actual proclamation of the gospel. That happens when we make disciples by baptizing in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It happens when we do as we are told, proclaiming the Lord’s death in the bread and wine until he returns: “given and shed for you, for the forgiveness of sins.” It happens in the absolution by the declaration of Christ’s promise to actual sinners: “I forgive you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” These are God’s means for electing actual people in their place and time. Election happens in history.
from The Preached God, (Eerdmans, 2007), 15-16.