For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all children of Abraham are his offspring, but "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named." This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. For this is what the promise said: "About this time next year I will return and Sarah shall have a son." And not only so, but also when Rebecca had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad - in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call - she was told, "The older will serve the younger." As it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."
When you are born spiritually dead, you are just that. Spiritually dead.
You cannot accomplish any feat of spirituality. Jesus said, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him." and "You did not choose me, but I chose you." I cannot even repent and believe of my own accord. It is all a work of grace by God.
So then, the natural question would be, "If it's all up to God, why doesn't He just save everyone?" That was the question I asked when I first heard about election and I found absolutely no solace in the answer I received from Scripture...
"What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?"
Another answer from which there is no comfort for me...
"But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to it's molder, "Why have you made me like this?" Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy which he has prepared beforehand for glory..."
But reading this, you would think God is cruel and doesn't allow someone to be saved who wants to be saved. But if you go back to the case of Pharaoh, Pharaohs heart was hardened and if you had said to him, "The reason you are not letting the Hebrews out of their slavery is because the God of the Hebrews has made it so." He would have said: "No. I am Pharaoh. I am sovereign and am doing what I want to do, so I have free will." And he would be right in saying he has free will, but he is only exercising the will that God gave him.
Look throughout the Old Testament and see the real-life stories that are symbols and shadows of Christ and tell me that God did not orchestrate all those events by working through human's wills.