3. (Ephesians 1:9-12)
The Mystery of God’s Will
Having made known to us the Mystery of His will, according to His Good Pleasure which He Purposed in Himself,
that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth; in Him.
In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
a. Having made known to us the Mystery of His Will: Part of what belongs to us under the riches of His Grace is the knowledge of the Mystery of His Will, God’s great plan and purpose which was once hidden but is now revealed to us in Jesus. Through the Apostle Paul, God calls us to consider the Greatness of God’s great plan for the ages and our place in that Plan.
i. “In the New Testament sense a mystery is something which is hidden to the heathen but clear to the Christian.” (Barclay)
ii. The idea behind the word dispensation also reflects a plan or a strategy. “The plan which the master of a family, or his steward,
has established for the management of the family . . .
it signifies, also, a plan for the management of any sort of business.” (Clarke)
b. That . . . He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth; in Him: God’s ultimate Plan is to bring together –
to ultimately resolve – all things in Christ, either through Jesus as a Savior or Jesus as a Judge; this will happen in the Fullness of the times.
i. The word for gather together has the idea of “to unite” or “to sum up.” It was used for the process of adding up a column of figures and putting the sum up at the top. Paul’s idea is that God will make all things “add up” at the end, and right now He is in the process of coming to that final sum.
ii. This shows that God wants to Unify all things in our lives under Him. “It is a heresy of our times to divide life into sacred and secular.” (Foulkes)
iii. This is the great Resolution and Deliverance that even the Creation groans for (Romans 8:18-22), the day when every wrong will be righted and every matter resolved according to God’s Holy Love and Justice.
iv. Bruce on the fullness of the times: “When the time is ripe for the Consummation of His Purpose, in His Providential Overruling of the course of the world, that Consummation will be Realized.”
c. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance: For believers, Jesus is not a judge, but the One in Whom we have an Inheritance. Believers are Predestined for this according to the Counsel of His Will – again, the reasons for His Choosing reside in Him, not in us.
d. Being Predestined according to the Purpose of Him Who Works all things according to the Counsel of His Will: We see three aspects of God’s Plan Working together. It begins with His Purpose, then the Counsel of His Will, and finally results in His Work. God makes His Plan carefully according to an Eternal Purpose, taking Counsel within the Godhead, and then He Works with All Wisdom.
i. “Our God is a God Who not only Wills;
and He works according to His will . . .
The word counsel stands for deliberate planning and arranging, in which the ways and means of carrying out the will are considered and provided for.” (Morgan)
ii. By the Counsel of His Will: “God does all by Counsel, and ever hath a reason of His Will, which though we see not for present, we shall at last day. Meanwhile submit.” (Trapp)
e. That we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His Glory: God’s purpose in all this is so that those who have trusted Christ will exist to the praise of His Glory.
The goal of God’s Ultimate Plan is to Glorify Him.
The GODHEAD is GLORIFIED
by Working Out Their Eternal Counsel.
“Being Predestined according to the Purpose of Him Who Works all things according to the Counsel of His Will”
f. We who first trusted in Christ: This speaks of Jewish believers. The words you also in Ephesians 1:13 speak of Gentile believers. God’s Great Plan has a place for both Jew and Gentile, and brings them both together in Jesus.
THAT’S THE PLAN.
The Mystery of God’s Will.