This Sunday starts a series based on the "heavenly blessings" listed in the book of Ephesians.
Realizing that Paul is writing to Gentiles is paramount to our understanding of this book in the New Testament. In Eph. 1:1-5, Paul stresses to the Ephesians that even before time began, God also chose them, not just the Jews, to be a part of his plan.
Carolina Sandell's wonderful hymn text "Children of the Heavenly Father" echoes this passage: "Though He giveth or He taketh, God His children ne'er forsaketh; His the loving purpose solely to preserve them pure and holy. " (Here's Dan Forrest's lovely anthem based on this hymn.)
This beautiful idea of predestination and election has unfortunately turned out to be a point of ugly division in the Church. Calvin believed that election and even the faith granted to members of the elect were given by God. Whereas Arminius, said no, all are called by God, but election was more based on man's response to him. Certainly God is sovereign, like Calvin said he was, but we also have free will, like Arminius stresses.
Our destiny is death, but God predestines us to be his children! Hallelujah!
Both theologians missed the salient role of the Church as God's chosen way of making us sons and daughters, brothers and sisters in Christ. And the Church is yet to be determined. Interestingly, the Greek can be translated as God chose, God is choosing, God will choose. That's the exciting, Good News of this passage!