The Gospel Was Planned Before Genesis 1:1

It is important to consider that the gospel of Jesus Christ is not a new invention. In fact, the gospel is the reason for the existence of everything. Why do we say that? Consider again Paul’s teaching in Ephesians 3:11. He writes in that verse, “

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

Think about this profound statement. Notice the “This” at the beginning of the verse. Although not present in Greek, it is implied and supplied by the editors because v.11 clearly refers to and explains further a previous teaching. There is a unit of thought in vv. 8-11 that is very tight and clean. In verse 8, Paul says that a grace was given to him by God. First, to preach the unfathomable riches of Jesus Christ. Second, to bring to light the administration of the mystery. Both of these are to accomplish a goal which is that God’s manifold wisdom might be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places through the church, who is the recipient of this deep and profound wisdom. Verse 11 refers to all of this. The unfathomable riches of Christ, the administration of the mystery of Christ, and the manifold wisdom of God before the angels and demons (including Satan) being evident by means of the existence (and practice) of the church, are all the “this” of v.11. All of this is in accordance with the eternal purpose of God.

Notice, however, that Paul does not say that all of this is the eternal purpose of God. He simply says that all of this is “in accordance with” the eternal purpose of God. Big difference. God’s goal is not simply preaching the unfathomable riches of Christ, as precious and critical as that is. And God’s goal is not simply to bring to light the administration of the mystery so that God’s wisdom is on display, as critical as that also is . These are simply components in the eternal plan of God that has one, and only one, goal.

Before we look at that goal, consider this term “eternal” for a moment. In Greek, it is τῶν αἰώνων “of the ages.” This is in reference to the all the ages of time. But the way that this is written is that it describes something. It describes, modifies, the word “purpose”, πρόθεσιν. This refers to a plan, or purpose, which has been laid out beforehand. It comes from a verb that is used often of something being placed, or set, or put, somewhere. It can, in a logical sense, be in reference to something being established or set in motion. You can see this in the use of the term in Acts 1:7. God has fixed, or placed, certain events, i.e. the kingdom, in time by His own authority. So also, it is according to this “plan” of the ages that all the other things in Ephesians 3:8-11 has occurred. Therefore, this plan, by which and for which, all things happen has been established “of the ages” or for eternity. This plan of God is an eternal plan.

So, what is the goal of this eternal plan? What is God going to accomplish in His plan since God’s plans cannot be thwarted. He will bring it to pass. The purpose of it all is stated in Romans 8:28-29. How marvelous! Understood from our discussion above, we know that every millisecond that passes, and every event in history, and every thought and intention of the heart of every person who has ever and will ever live, are all marching forward exactly as planned by God. It all has God’s purpose in the horizon. It cannot be changed, by man or Satan. With that in mind, we understand that all things, for those who are elect, work together, like a tapestry, for a particular good. That is, good qualitatively as opposed to evil. That is, good that is righteous as opposed to an earthy, man-centered good that is not good enough. This good is the highest good and is the good that defines and limits the working together of all things. What is this good? Simply, but impossibly profound, it is that sinners called, predestined, foreknown, justified, and glorified, by God in Christ Jesus will be made sons, in accordance with the image and likeness of God’s dear, beloved, eternal, Son. God’s good goal, toward which all things inexorably move, is to make elect sinners conformed to the nature and expression of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who will be the firstborn among many brethren.

The reality that God had a plan, before Genesis 1:1, that is being carried out which necessitates everything that ever happens in time and space, is a reality that causes us to bow in fear of a God who not only can conceive of such a plan, but who has the absolute sovereign power and authority to carry it out. And, like Joseph in Egypt, God’s goal for us, in spite of the evil of this age, is for good. But not the good of a saccharin, man-centered, Freudian self-therapy of the happy thinking of a kind of fairy-tale land with no problems. It is in fact, the good of conformity to the image of Jesus Christ and all the privileges that accompany such a condition. But remember, Jesus was crucified, and slandered, and hated by all, except One, the Father.

So, just know, if you understand these things, and you comprehend God’s eternal plan, and you believe this message of conformity to Jesus Christ (which, by the way, demands His lordship over His people), you then need to understand that if you follow Jesus Christ, you will also endure what He did-contempt. However, consider the glories that are now His at the right hand of His beloved Father. And consider Jesus’ promise to His followers in John 14:1-3, “

   Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe  also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.

Be encouraged, faithful Christian. God’s plan is right on schedule. Be obedient to God, as a dear child (Ephesians 5:1; 1 Peter 1:14) and proclaim this message of God’s eternal plan. Call the world to the repentance that leads to life. Live righteously, even if the entire church itself falls in love with the world. Obey the Father, as Jesus Christ did even to the point of the cross. Give Him glory, and you will be raised up. After all, what happens in time cannot stop God’s eternal plan.