God’s Eternal Plan.

When we stop to consider all that God has done in the gospel it quickly becomes a staggering exercise. When we compile the teaching from Scripture concerning God’s plan of redemption, there follows a certain pattern:

  • The plan designed before the world was,
  • The “setting of the stage” in order to execute the plan,
  • The initial components of the plan inaugurated,
  • The plan executed, the plan awaiting its final installment,
  • The plan completed and its effects enjoyed, uninterrupted, for eternity.

Paul wrote a most profound thing in Ephesians chapter 3.

         1      For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—
         2      if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you;
         3      that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief.
         4      By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,
         5      which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;
         6      to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,
         7      of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power.
         8      To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ,
         9      and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things;
         10      so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.

To break this down into thoughts that Paul is expressing is instructive. Paul first writes that he is a prisoner, not of Rome, but of Jesus Christ. This is because he was preaching the gospel to the Gentiles and they were getting redeemed. Paul had been given a duty, a certain management of sorts in reference to the message of the grace of God in Christ (v.2). This message was given to Paul via a revelation from Jesus Christ Himself, much like Revelation 1-3. He calls this the “mystery of Christ” (v.4). Now, this becomes the topic of choice for Paul. The mystery is in reference to Jesus Christ. It is not simply a mystery about Jesus. And it is not as if He Himself were mysterious. It is the mystery, i.e. that truth that no one has known except the Father until now, having revealed it in Christ and explaining it through apostles and prophets, concerning all that God has accomplished in Christ, specifically as it relates to the salvation of Jew and Gentile alike into one body. Gentiles are brought into God’s kingdom not from aligning themselves with the Mosaic Law along with Israel. Gentiles partake of the promise of the kingdom in Christ through the gospel. The gospel is that instruction given to the Gentiles by which, upon believing, they are saved. Again, Paul asserts his calling, responsibility, and reminds them that he is called to be a preacher of this mystery, the unfathomable riches of Christ (which encompasses the salvation of Gentiles), as well as exposing the actuation of the mystery into this world (v.9). But notice that this mystery “has been hidden in God” “for ages.” This is incredible! God has kept a plan unrevealed from before Genesis 1:1, but now has begun to carry it out in Christ Jesus. And what is the result? The result is that God’s magnificent, and manifold, wisdom would be on display through the church to the rulers and authorities, not on this planet, but in the heavenly places. He did what He did not to impress rulers and presidents here. He has done what He has done in order to exclaim to the angels that Satan is not lord, He is.

And what does v.11 say?

      11      This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord,

All of this “was in accordance with”, or exactly carried out perfectly in line with, “the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Magnificent! Everything is right on schedule. The most horrendous event in human history was the murder of God’s Son. It appeared to be out of control and unexpected. Satan entered a man in order to betray Christ to the authorities so that they would execute Him unjustly, and that is exactly what happened. And yet, with all the pandemonium and confusion of the trials, accusations, foolishness, and abandonment of the disciples, everything happened according to a predetermined plan which only the Father knew from eternity. That is why Peter said,

         22      “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know—
         23      this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.
         24      “But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. (Acts 2:22-24).

 

All things have been, are, and will be consumed in Christ. Jesus Christ did nothing but what the Father told Him-

   49      “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. 
   50      “I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.” (Jn 12:49–50.)

Thus, because of the perfect obedience of God’s Son, which is the only pattern for all children to their parents, God has accomplished salvation for all who would ever believe.

The realities of Jesus Christ demand a greater treatment than this post. I will be studying further on Jesus Christ and writing that here, following the order from the first paragraph above.