Each of you is free to respond to this post as you will. I will enjoy hearing all your thoughts, I'm sure. But, let me tell you what I will specifically be hoping to hear.
I hope to hear what you feel like this passage means. What do you picture in your mind when you read this?
Starting in 1986 or so I quit reading the bible for about 4 years. I plain and simple put it down. I could no longer read a single passage of scripture without the din of arguments and counter arguments playing in my head like duelling auctioneers. The auctioneer championing "my" arguments was always the loudest, but I knew better than to trust to volume. So, every time I opened the scripture I heard a loud voice yelling things I figured were wrong, and a louder voice yelling things I hoped were right. When I read a passage like the one below, I heard cross-references shooting from ear to ear, threatening to rob my sanity if I erred to the right or the left - and crippling the little sanity I could claim with each proof-text.
In other words, my head was a lot like a blog conversation.
I don't like to go there any more.
So, I would rather focus on meaning and purpose.
Whatever else may be true of this passage, it is the words of a dear, brilliant, divinely inspired brother to a beautiful, loving, challenged group of the Lord's people. It is Paul's reminder and encouragement of something that he wanted to embellish on when he could be with them (or that he had already told them, but I think this was actually written for the church at Laodicea.)
What I want to hear is what Paul wanted those brothers and sisters to remember when he said, "predestined." What comfort did he want to well up from within them? With what encouragement did he want to impel them forward? What strength did he want them to draw from the picture he paints?
In verses 4 and 5 Paul encourages the saints directly with predestination. Verses 3 and 6 are related to the idea.
What is he saying?
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.