What is the doctrine of election?
Election is explained in Ephesians 1:3-5, among other places in Scripture.
Election is God’s choosing from eternity past those whom he would save.
This election is plainly based upon the loving foreknowledge of God (1 Peter 1:2), not upon anything that we did or were going to do. An election based simply on foreseeing our belief or good works is unscriptural for two reasons: 1) it is clear that we could not believe on our own, without His grace working faith in us (1 Peter 1:21), so there would be no faith to foresee if He did not work it in us; and 2) an election based upon our belief in Him is not Him electing us at all, but our electing ourselves and His simply ratifying our decision.
Yet the Bible clearly teaches that “we love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19) -- a cause-and-effect formula, in which God's love for us is the cause and our love for Him is the effect, not the other way around. John 15:16 makes this equally clear, if simply taken as it is.
This electing love, then, which sent Christ to die for His people on the cross, evidences itself in the lives of those thus chosen and eventually saved, in the form of faith and good works (Colossians 3:12-13; Galatians 5:22-24). It is crucial, however, to understand that these are the fruit -- not the root -- of our salvation in Christ.