7.1 Ephesians -- Destined in Christ
Paul starts with the fundamental truths of the Christian faith. He bases everything in the believer's life in the achievement of Jesus Christ:
[God] has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ... (Eph 1:3-5).
In him we were also chosen, having been predestined...(Eph 1:11).
Thus, we were predestined in love to be forgiven of sins, redeemed, adopted as sons, and given every spiritual blessing. One can emphasize the predestination theme to the point that human acquiesence in salvation is minimized, but this is not Paul's point. As he says later in this book,
So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking....Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold...And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God (Eph 4:17-31).
Men still have the freedom and responsibility to cooperate with God's plan. But Paul is concerned that Christians do not claim any credit for their salvation, as if they have earned these blessings:
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast (Eph 2:8-9).