8 So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God,
9 who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,
I sent both verses for context but I wanted to focus on verse 9. The pronoun Paul uses (i.e. us, we) makes it clear he is not talking about the whole world of sinners, but in this case, he was referring to himself and Timothy - and by implication and application, the saved throughout the millennia, the church. He’s not writing about the lost, because the lost aren’t saved. e.g. ...by the power of God, who has saved us...
Point one - God saved us “not because of anything we have done...” If I used HUMAN logic**, I would say that I don’t understand how the Arminian can read that and say, “...not because of anything we have done except believe on Him.” By adding “except believe on Him” he has just changed God’s Word. Believing on Him is something we DO, and the Arminian is saying that God will not save us until we DO something first, i.e. believe on Him, trust him, confess Jesus as Lord and Savior, THEN He will save us. Sorry, verse 9 says that God saved us NOT because of anything we have done.
Point two - But Paul didn’t end it there did he? He even continued the thought and gave us the reason why God DID save us. ...not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. AND that this grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time. Every believer, past, present, and future, was given this grace before the beginning of time. This is the same group of people God chose in Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world, His Elect (Ephesians 1:4).
God saved us not because of anything we have done, which absolutely and necessarily includes “believing in Jesus Christ,” He saved us because of His own purpose and grace. Why? Because He is sovereign and can do (and does) anything He wants.
If this grace was given us before the beginning of time it is just as obvious that this grace was NOT given to others from the beginning of time. They were not chosen in Christ, they were not in Christ before the foundation of the world and since He is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8), Christ did not die for them (Mark 14:24, Ephesians 5:25). They will never be called (1 Corinthians 1:26), never be given saving faith (2 Thessalonians 3:2), never be given belief (John 6:29; Philippians 1:29), and never be given the gift of repentance (2 Timothy 2:25). God will never quicken their dead spirits. Yes, there are those who have no hope of being saved (Ephesians 2:12, 1 Thessalonians 4:13).
** But because I believe in a sovereign God, I know you believe only what He has revealed to you (Philippians 2:13) just as I believe what He has revealed to me. But as we are to preach the Gospel to everyone (Mark 16:15) because we don’t know who the chosen are, I will continue to try to persuade you of the Truth in God’s Word - and just as God is glorified when His Word is preached (whether people get saved or not), God will be glorified in these Bible Truths (our discussion) whether you are swayed or not.