According to church historian Timothy George, “Calvin did not teach this doctrine [election] because he was a ‘dour despot’ or a mean man but because, rightly or wrongly, he believed it was clearly found in the Scriptures” (Theology of the Reformers). For Calvin, this doctrine of election was from first to last pastoral in its import. This must not be lost upon us.
With the above in mind, for Calvin, first and foremost, he saw the doctrine of election as christocentric. “We have in the very head of the church the clearest mirror of free election” (Institutes 3.22.1). This is clear in Calvin’s commentary on Ephesians 1:4:
“For if we are chosen in Christ, it is not of ourselves. It is not from a perception of anything that we deserve, but because our heavenly Father has introduced us, through the privilege of adoption, into the body of Christ. In short, the name of Christ excludes all merit, and everything which men have of their own; for when he says that we are chosen in Christ, it follows that in ourselves we are unworthy.”
As professor George remarked above, “rightly or wrongly, [Calvin] believed it was clearly found in the Scriptures” and that it was christocentric (Institutes 3.22.1).