JohnSWilson3 Blog

“…the mystery of his will…”
September 18, 2010, 2:18 pm
Filed under: P Letter to the Ephesians

It is interesting as I read these first few verses of Chapter 1 of Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus how Paul seems to circle back onto what he says, and brings out deeper thoughts into his previous statements.

Paul stated in verse 5 of a retranslation that ‎”God the Father, in his good pleasure and will, knew before the creation of the world that He would place us as his sons through Jesus Christ to Himself. Praise His glorious grace!” Paul later in verse 9 brings up “his will” again but now expounds on its deeper meaning. Not only is it God’s good pleasure to place “us as his sons through Jesus Christ to Himself” “he (has also) made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ” and that is in Christ “when the times will have reached their fulfillment,” God the Father plans to “sum up all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth” (1) and we are part of this predestined plan!

Somehow because of the previous thoughts of “to be holy and blameless in his sight” and “placing us as his sons through Jesus Christ,” this forward looking aspect of the body of Christ displaying the fullness of Christ by His Spirit, there is a sense that God the Father will “bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ” when the church in every place, which is his body, in God’s timing, truly manifests the fullness of Christ in its life together. Perhaps because of the institutionalism of the church, because of its focus on clergy/laity divisions (not to mention the numerous ways a church can divide itself), decreased participation of the body in the life of Christ in a shared life together because of a spectator mentality of “church,” and the focus on law and programs over faith, grace, and life is a reason why “the times” have not “reached their fulfillment.” Frank Viola makes an interesting observation in his booklet, “Bethany: The Lord’s Desire for His Church,” page 60-61. (see Frank’s excellent booklet:

“Could it be that when Jesus Christ returns to this planet that He will return to the very place where He left…Bethany, on the Mount of Olives…thus sending a message to the entire world that spiritual Bethanies are what He is after and what will bring Him back?
“Perhaps the message here is that Bethany possesses a Divine drawing power. When the Lord sees Bethanies all over this planet, He will return for His own. For He will be received. And He will take over this planet as Head over all things, both in heaven and on earth.
“…The earth awaits a group of Christians in every city who will receive the Son of God utterly and completely. A group who will enthrone Christ as Head over their gatherings and their corporate life rather than a pastor or a group of elders. A group who will esteem Jesus above all else and who will give Him His rightful place of supremacy and centrality. A group who will give themselves utterly to the Lord and to one another. A group who is willing to ‘waste’ their lives on Him together…including their time. The earth awaits such.”

May the Lord show His church His “wisdom and understanding” of what being the church is truly all about, what He is after! He is consumed with His Son! He desires to “sum up all things” with His Son. He desires to place us, His body, as sons because of His “good pleasure and will!” The world groans for the waiting for our adoption, for the living by the Spirit together. May we bring praise to God as we display His glorious grace when we live together by His life together where everyone freely participates in face-to-face community in an organic way. Christ is looking for a place to lay His head, a place of rest, a place that He found in Bethany when He was here in His physical form during His earthly ministry before the cross. What do we need to do for this to happen? What truly matters anyway to the Lord? Is he really concerned about our institutions or His Son in His people? God the Father is waiting for the fullness of His Son in His Church.

(1) Lincoln, Andrew T., Word Biblical Commentary: Ephesians, Volume 42, Dallas: Word Books, 1990, 9. This is Lincoln’s translation of “to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ” (NIV). The original translation is: “to head up – all things in – Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth; in him,…” from Alfred Marshall, The Interlinear KJV-NIV Parallel New Testament in Greek and English, 1975, The Zondervan Corporation, 563.

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