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 us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will -- to the praise of this glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
I've noticed in Christian centered conversations that words like "chosen" and "predestined" (especially any word derived from "predestination") gets avoided. These are words that trigger debate and even conflict. People immediately assume that these words mean something exclusionary and rob us of our free will. On the contrary, being chosen and predestined should open our eyes even wider to the great love that God has for us . . . for ALL of us! First of all these words are easily taken out of context. They must instead be brought into the context of God's overall character. God is not exclusionary, therefore, being chosen does not mean that He's included some and not others into His great plan of redemption. God never overrides our free will and, therefore, accepting the idea of being predestined does not mean that we submit to a doctrine "no choice." I believe that the idea of being chosen and predestined is seated, embedded, into God's all surpassing wisdom and omniscience. Friend, God knew you, chose you and planned for you "before the creation of the world." He already chose you and predestined you, by the mere fact that He created you, for redemption and to be adopted as his sons or daughters. Adoption is no small thing. In our world, people wanting to adopt a child would give almost anything they had -- everything they have in order to adopt. Adoption is a very serious matter invoking all the rights and privileges to the one adopted as would be given to a natural son or daughter. Think about this! You have been given all the rights and privileges as Jesus himself!
"In love He predestined us..." Predestination is a loving act straight from the loving nature of God. Any interpretation (and there are many!) of this mysterious doctrine that detracts from the love of God should be suspect. In love He chose you for eternal life with Him and predestined you to live holy and blameless through Jesus Christ. And, through Jesus Christ you are received into His family by adoption. This, my friend, is His plan for you and for me. Why? Because it pleased Him to create you, to know you, to love you, to plan for you, to make room for you in this world -- His world. He didn't have to create you at all. But, He did. He thought of YOU and it pleased Him to make room for you in His story! Accepting His son as your Savior and Lord is in His plan for you . . . this is what you were created to do! This is what you were predestined to do! This is why you were chosen to have life!
Now, whether or not you choose Him (free will) is up to you. It always has been. Each one of us on the planet is chosen for creation and He knew each one of us before time began "and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live." (Acts 17:26b, NIV) His plan for you and for me is be holy (set apart to reflect His purity) and blameless (free from blemish) and this seemingly daunting task is accomplished one simple way: by accepting the grace given us through Jesus Christ. This is not a doctrine that robs me of free will or excludes some from knowing Him. Instead, this speaks to me about a God who, before He created the world, thought of me and planned for me and determined that I would live in the times I do and, once here, set eternity before me and created opportunities for me to choose eternity with Him. He allowed me to freely choose Him, and, when I did, His grace, the grace I need to live holy and blameless was (and is) freely given to me through His son!
I realize my interpretation of the doctrine of predestination in this post is a tad oversimplified. This is an interpretation that God has been showing me for a number of years now and, although it may in fact be simple in nature, it doesn't mean it's wrong. I submit that it's just another layer to a very deep theology. I encourage you to search out the idea of being chosen and predestined for yourself.