I include here an excerpt from an October 2009 post which in itself is a repost of an October 2008 post about Ephesians 1. I first learned that Ephesians 1 could be read this way from a lecture series by Mark Kinzer in 2008. After the excerpt is a link to go and read the whole article:
In Ephesians, again and again, we see Paul comforting and edifying a non-Jewish community of Yeshua-followers who felt second class. These humble believers faced persecution from the synagogue. It is quite likely that in the heart of the Roman Imperial Cult (Asia Minor was a hotbed of rabid emperor worship), these non-Jews were being threatened by the synagogue as illegal cultists to be turned in to the authorities.
I do not have space here to detail the well-known issues of Roman law about religion, the exception made for Judaism, and the status of early believers in Roman eyes as a Jewish sect. If you’d like to know more, say so in the comments and perhaps I can gather some historical support and make a blog post of that as well.
Now, keeping in mind the Ephesians were suffering from a non-Jewish inferiority complex, read Ephesians 1:3-14 carefully, noting the pronouns such as us, we, and you.
Who does Paul mean by us and we? There are three main possibilities: