Here is what Ephesians teaches about predestination:
- God has determined that the people who put their hope in Christ will be adopted as his children and will become Christlike.
- Before he created the world God chose Israel as the people who would live by the promises of God that would ultimately be fulfilled in Christ.
- The people of Israel were the first to hope in Christ. They didn’t know his name would be Jesus, in fact through most of Israel’s history they didn’t even know his title would be Christ or Messiah. (The title ‘Messiah’ comes fairly late in Israel’s history and in the literature of the Bible.) But the story of the Bible is forward looking, beginning with God’s call of Abraham through whom all the peoples of the earth are to be blessed
- God’s choice of the nation Israel as his “chosen people” seemed like an exclusive thing, like a closed circle. In fact Israel’s various rituals, sacrifices, and purity laws were almost guaranteed to exclude the other nations. But Ephesians is about a surprise: “You Gentiles were included when you heard of Christ and believed in him.” The circle is now open, the wall of separation is broken down, and it was God’s secret plan all along.
Election refers to God’s act of choosing people to belong to him. In Ephesians chapter 1, Paul teaches that election is dynamic, open, and growing. Everyday people from unexpected places are coming into the light and life that Christ offers to us.