The wickedness of the sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas (1 Sam. 1:3; 2:34), who were priests in Israel, is described in 1 Samuel 2:12-17. While the Lord had allocated certain portions of the sacrificed animals to the priests (Lev. 7:28-36; Deut. 18:3), these wicked men intimidated worshippers and took other portions of meat to which they were not entitled. They also committed fornication with the women at the tabernacle (1 Sam. 2:22; cf. Ex. 38:8). While Phinehas’ earlier namesake, the son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron, was commended because he forcibly stopped fornication in Israel (Num. 25:6-18), this later Phinehas, son of Eli, descendant of Aaron, would be punished because he engaged in fornication. Eli questioned his sons and told them not to do these evils (1 Sam. 2:22-24). However, God asked Eli why do you, “honor your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?” (1 Sam. 2:29). God knows the difference between that which is mere talk and what is truly in one’s heart. Eli said “no” to his sons, but evidently was made fat from their stolen portions of meat.
The Levitical priests were chosen by God (Ex. 28:1). God asked this rhetorical question to Eli regarding the descendants of Aaron, “Did I not choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be My priest, to offer upon My altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod before Me?” (1 Sam. 2:28). But God’s election of them did not mean that God would not revoke their status and punish them if they fell away into wickedness. The text goes on to say: “Therefore the LORD God of Israel says: ‘I said indeed that your house and the house of your father would walk before Me forever.’ But now the LORD says: ‘Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed. Behold, the days are coming that I will cut off your arm and the arm of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house.’” (1 Sam. 2:30, 31).
Today as Christians, we are a chosen generation and a royal priesthood (1 Pet. 2:9). We are “elect according to the foreknowledge of God” (1 Pet. 1:2). Many in the religious world view election as guaranteed salvation, but the Bible does not teach such. This religious error comes from John Calvin who taught unconditional election. Regarding elect in 1 Peter 1:2, Calvin stated, “Hence, when Peter calls them elect according to the precognition of God, he intimates that the cause of it depends on nothing else but on God alone, for he of his own free will has chosen us.” Ephesians 1:4 says that God chose us before the foundation of the world. Calvin’s comments on being chosen are thus: “…all our holiness and purity of life flow from the election of God. How comes it then that some men are religious, and live in the fear of God, while others give themselves up without reserve to all manner of wickedness? If Paul may be believed, the only reason is, that the latter retain their natural disposition, and the former have been chosen to holiness.” Calvin’s false teaching is that men have nothing to do with their salvation, God’s choosing/election does everything; men really have no choice whether they are wicked or holy.
However, almost every page of the Bible has a lesson for us to choose to stay faithful and several passages in the Bible show that election cannot mean guaranteed salvation regardless of one’s behavior. Let us not silence passages like 1 Samuel 2:27-36 from informing us of the nature of God’s choosing/election. Since we, as Christians, are all priests to God today, then we must live holy lives (1 Pet. 1:15, 16; 2:9) to make our calling and election sure (2 Pet. 1:10). We must continue in God’s goodness, otherwise we will be cut off (Rom. 11:22).
 John Calvin and John Owen, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010), 24–25.
 John Calvin and William Pringle, Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul to the Galatians and Ephesians (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010), 199.