So although the election of Israel is by grace, there is an important place for continued faithfulness. Individuals can belong to the chosen people, yet lose their elect status by faithlessness and disobedience. Branches can be broken off “because of unbelief” (Rom. 11:20). When we consider divine rejection, we should not argue that the discarded branches were never really elect. There is a place or such reasoning, but it pertains to a different kind of election … in this context it is possible to lose one’s election. The discarded branches were indeed elect at one time, for they were part of the tree of Israel. Israel as a nation was really elect, before God declared them to be “not my people,” and they became elect again, when God declared them to be “sons of the living God.”
The same is true of the New Testament church. It would not be right to say that Judas, or Ananias, or the apostates of Hebrews 6 and 10 were never elect in any sense. They were elect in the sense that Israel was elect. Indeed, when Calvinists worry about the implications of Hebrews 6 and 10, it is useful for them to consider that the apostates in these passages are very much like Old Testament Israel: they “have once been enlightened, . . . tasted the heavenly gift, . . . shared in the Holy Spirit, . . . tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age.” (Heb. 6:4-5). Israel experienced all these things throughout Old Testament history and particularly during the earthly ministry of Jesus. But they rejected him and joined those who crucified the Son of God. So those church members who turn away from Christ “are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace” (6:6).
Note how Hebrews 4:4-6 emerges out of the references to Israel in chapters 3 and 4. The Israelites, blessed as they were with enlightenment, the heavenly gift, the Holy Spirit, the word of God, and the powers of the coming age, nevertheless hardened their hearts against the Lord (3:7-11, 15). The writer therefore urges Christians to “make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience” (4:11).
So God continues to break branches off the tree of redemption. Even those who have been freshly engrafted can be broken off because of unbelief (pp. 324-5).
~John Frame, Doctrine of God, p. 324-325
I don’t want to use labels, but well, you do the math…
HT: Eric P