On Sunday morning we looked at the first 14 verses of Paul's letter to the Ephesians. It included some interesting, sometimes controversial language such as predestination.
As I stated in the sermon however, Paul's primary interest here is not giving us a theology of who's "in" and who's "out."
Instead, Paul is telling the Ephesians about God's love affair with them.
Imagine two lovers sitting at a romantic dinner with one another on a special date, maybe a 25th anniversary. What are they likely to talk about? Their love for one another! Their story together.
One might begin, "Do you remember when we first met? Do you remember our first date? This is what I thought of you when you first walked in the room, when you walked down the aisle. This is how my love for you began. I chose you over all other people!"
This is what is going on in Ephesians, God is telling them their story. He is asking rhetorically, “do you know when I fell in love with you?”
Before the foundations of the world, before time began!
Instead of solving theological riddles, Paul is speaking very personally on behalf of God; he's sending them a love letter.
There's a lot more we could say about predestination and election but we would need to look at the Bible as a whole, not just one passage in Ephesians. If you would like to do a little more study on these topics, I'd suggest picking up a copy of James K. A. Smith's little book, "Letters to a Young Calvinist." He cuts through some of the misperceptions of Calvinist thought and speaks to both the head and the heart.
(Many thanks to Scot Sherman of City Church San Francisco, for the illustration of comparing predestination language to lovers sharing their story.)