God’s act of election was defined by the Arminians as a resolve to receive to sonship and glory a duly qualified class of people – believers in Christ. This becomes a resolve to receive individual persons only in virtue of God’s forseeing the contingent fact that they will of their own accord believe. There is nothing in the decree of election to ensure that the class of believers will ever have any members; God does not determine to make any man believe.
But Calvinists define election as a choice of particular underserving persons to be saved from sin and brought to glory, and to that end to be redeemed by the death of Christ and given faith by the Spirit’s effectual calling. Where the Arminian says, ‘I owe my election to my faith,’ the Calvinist says, ‘I owe my faith to my election.’ Clearly, these two concepts of election are very far apart.
– J.I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness, p. 131