Paul tells Timothy not to “be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord.” (2 Timothy 1: 8) Paul reminds Timothy that God “saves us and calls us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of His own purpose and grace, which He gives us in Christ Jesus before the ages begin.” (2 Timothy 1: 9)
God’s calling is from before time — long in advance of any one thing we do or do not do. God “says to Moses, ‘I have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ ” (Romans 9: 15) God “says to Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I raise you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My Name is proclaimed in all the earth.’ So then He has mercy on whomever He wills, and He hardens whomever He wills.” (Romans 9: 17 – 18)
God chooses Jacob to love, and Esau to hate. (Romans 9: 13) And this, “though they are not yet born and have done nothing either good or bad — in order that God’s purpose of election may continue, not because of works but because of Him who calls.” (Romans 9: 11)
Our eternal life is due to “Him who calls.” He calls us from darkness, leads us into His Light, gives us His Holy Spirit and walks us to His mountain. Our salvation has nothing to do with our works, which are — at the very best — side-effects of the Holy Spirit within us.