Summary: Even after you come to know Jesus we often feel that though God may love us because of Jesus, He doesn’t like us very well. Learn the truth about how God feels about you and the destiny He has for you.
As God chose us (vs 4), picked us out from among others, before the universe began, so now He sets the course of the universe to a particular outcome for us—that in essence is predestination.
The Greek word pro-orizo means “to set a boundary, to mark out a thing in advance.” It’s where we get the word horizon. Paul may have actually coined this word as it first appears in Greek literature in his writings. The word is used six times in the New Testament. Every time it is used only of God.
Romans 8:29 “For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified.” (We receive the right to be adopted into God’s family through God’s predetermined plan – similar to what we see in Ephesians 1).
1Cor. 2:6 “However, we do speak a wisdom among the mature, but not a wisdom of this age, or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 On the contrary, we speak God’s hidden wisdom in a mystery, a wisdom God predestined before the ages for our glory.” (God’s mysterious plan of salvation was predetermined).
Acts 4:27 “For, in fact, in this city both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, assembled together against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your plan had predestined to take place.” (The sufferings of Jesus were predetermined by God).
Predestination is for a God-designed purpose – in this case, adoption of us into His family. God has to get from making a decision about us, to acting upon that decision, and that’s what predestination is all about. I like how simply the Holman Study Bible puts it: “Predestination refers to the consistent and coherent intention of God’s will, an eternal decision rendering certain that which will come to pass.”
There’s an interesting discussion about this phrase. Basically because God did this before time and space began, the order of God predestining us and us reaching out to God to become Christians cannot be determined. It’s quite possible that God made a decision about you and predestined you outside of time simultaneously with your decision to seek Him through Jesus in time. As we said last time, both God and man make decisions, it’s just that God’s decisions are more important than ours, more fair, and done always in love, and as we’ll see, in kindness.
To be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself
So how does this adoption work? The people who read or heard Ephesians would have lived under Roman law and would have understood adoption from that standpoint. In the Roman family the father had absolute authority (Hoehner, page 196). He could literally take the life of a family member and it would not be considered murder. He could also dispense the family property any way he wished.