Something is happening in the world today even though many people do not realise it. In the words of a well-known hymn, “God is working His purpose out as year succeeds to year.” It may seem to many people in our world today, when many appear to be drifting away from organised religion, that God is losing control of His world. However, God has a purpose for His world and He has already set this purpose in action. What He has begun, He will bring to completion. No human can stop it. It is inevitable. In His time!
What exactly then is this purpose that He has set in place? Saint Paul described it in His letter to the Ephesians. There are different ways of describing the message in Ephesians. One of my favourite descriptions was that found in a book by Watchman Nee entitled, “Sit. Walk. Stand.” The “Sit” stood for the fact that as believers we are seated with Christ in the heavenlies. That is our status in the eyes of God. The “Walk” represented our Christian walk as believers. The “Stand” came from our need to stand against the powers of darkness in spiritual warfare whilst clothed in the armour of God. It was an accurate description of the contents of the epistle.
The same truths are expressed in a different way in the following description. It is based on what Paul described as the purpose of God for His world, which is a mystery that was revealed by God to His people. The mystery is that in building a new humanity He would bring them together in Christ and through this new humanity [the church] He would make that message of the mystery known to the whole world, “as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” Eph 1:10.
Some human thinking influenced by totalitarian Marxist philosophy so prevalent in our world. sees unity as the result of the process of division and the breaking down of all existing structures and forcing human thinking to submit to its godless materialistic philosophy. God’s process in bringing unity to the world is quite different. His process is that of reconciliation. He has made it possible for individuals to be reconciled to God through the death of His Son. He has made reconciliation to one another as humans possible by that same death of Jesus on the cross. Then these reconciled believers [who have been reconciled to God and to one another] described as the body of Christ and the church, are to take that message of reconciliation to the wider world to enable this uniting of all things in Jesus in God’s time. The process began with the pouring out of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, was spread through the ministry of missionaries sharing the mystery of God’s purpose and redeeming love around the world throughout the ages, and is progressing day by day.
As a later verse puts it,
“From utmost east to utmost west,
wherever feet have trod,
by the mouth of many messengers
goes forth the voice of God,
‘Give ear to me, ye continents,
ye isles, give ear to me,
that the earth may be filled with the glory of God
as the waters cover the sea.”
When will that fulness of time come? Only God knows! But as the hymn goes on to suggest, we need to be ready. Why?
“yet nearer and nearer draws the time,
the time that shall surely be,
when the earth shall be filled with the glory of God
as the waters cover the sea.”
Every time we introduce other people to Jesus we are being used as part of the eternal purpose of God in uniting all things in Himself and hastening the day when He returns and when indeed, “the earth shall be filled with the glory of God, as the waters cover the sea.”
Blog No.362. Posted on www.jimholbeck.blog on Sunday 12th July 2020.