Many people ask questions such as “What is the purpose of this world?” and “What is the meaning of life?” God has the answers and they are wrapped up in His Son. As one hymn puts it, “God is working His purpose out, As year succeeds to year.” The following passage of scripture tells us what that purpose is and the central role that Jesus plays within it. It is amazing that we as believers are also involved in God’s purposes for the world. So read the passage and then pray that you will fulfil the role that the Lord, the Almighty God has for you as an individual as He works out His purpose in the world from year to year!
The Passage of scripture
Eph 1:7 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.”
Some Notes On The Passage
- The phrases “In Him” “in Christ” and “in Jesus” occur close to 30 times in the epistle. It is a reminder to us that all God’s blessings to us are ours “in Him.”
- “Have” is present tense signifying present possession in Christ, not just some future possibility.
- “Redemption” [apolytrōsis; ἀπολύτρωσις from luo to loose and lutroo to ransom [by payment of a price.] Deliverance by the payment of a price. What was the price that was paid?
- The price paid was “through His blood,” the blood of Jesus which He shed on the cross to secure an eternal redemption, [Heb 9:12.] It is a gift of God’s grace [Rom 3:24], and includes the redemption of our bodies at the second coming of Jesus [Rom 8:23.] Until that time, believers are sealed with the Holy Spirit. [Eph 1:13, 4:30.]
- “Forgiveness” [aphesis, ἄφεσις] means the setting free from the penalty of sin [trespasses.]
- “Trespasses” is [παράπτωμα, paraptōma] meaning a falling to the side, a deviation]. How has forgiveness of trespasses been achieved? By the redemption Jesus secured on the cross. But why did He do it? It was a demonstration of the grace of God towards sinners.
- “According to the riches of His grace which He lavished upon us.“ It was not ‘out of” those riches so that there was less afterwards. Rather it was according to the measure of those inexhaustible, unsearchable riches.
- “Lavished” [perisseuō; περισσεύω] gives the sense that the riches of grace were abundant in supply rather than being unnecessarily ostentatious.
- “In all wisdom and insight.” Not human wisdom and insight, for the message of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, 1Cor 1:23 “but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 5 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.“ Rather, it was a demonstration of the wisdom of God in covering over sin in this way through the death of His Son.
- Such demonstration revealed the mystery of God’s will. “Mystery” is [mystērion; μυστήριον] meaning an open secret for those with eyes to see, but hidden from others.
- “according to His purpose.” It was always God’s purpose for His Son to die for sinners, as the “lamb slain from the creation of the world” Rev 13:8. But what was that purpose?
- It was an eternal purpose to be fulfilled by Christ in the fulness of time, that is, in God’s timing.
- What was His plan in Christ? It was to “unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” “Unite” is the very rich word in Greek [anakephalaiomai; ἀνακεφαλαίομαι] which means more than just joining together. The structure of the word gives the clue. It is made up of [aná meaning up or again] and [kephale meaning head.} It is the uniting of all things under one head. A Latin version of this word is used in theology to describe the meaning of the death of Jesus on the cross [a theory of atonement]. It is the Recapitulation theory [where ‘re’ means back or again] and [capitulum] which comes from the word [caput “head.”] It has the same meaning as the Greek word, that is, summing up under one head. Part of that unity is seen and experienced when believers from different nationalities and races discover a real unity when they gather together in worship and fellowship. They realise that are one in Christ and are determined to live under Him as head of His world-wide church.
A Suggested Prayer based on Ephesians 1:7-10.
“Heavenly Father, we thank You that when we received Jesus to be our Saviour and Lord, You blessed us in Him with so many blessings. We thank You that in Him we have been redeemed by His blood and our sins have been forgiven. We praise You that You poured out Your amazing grace on us as part of Your purpose in bringing a sense of unity in this divided world. We thank You that In Christ we are one with believers from all over the world. Enable us by Your Holy Spirit to humble ourselves before You so that You can exercise Your headship over Your church and over every individual in the church. We invite You to take Your throne over our lives as we seek to live for You and to fulfil Your purpose for us in this world. Accept our grateful thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN!”
Blog No.287. Posted on www.jimholbeck.blog on Tuesday 04 September 2018.