If you’ve been reading my whole series on Ephesians, and have a keen eye, you would have noticed that I have skipped verse 8. There is no prejudice in this; I am not against the verse. It’s just that verse 8 finishes off the thought that was started in verse 7. That is, one of the blessings we receive through Christ is redemption, and we receive it in such a way that Christ “lavished [it] on us. In all wisdom and insight.”
With that said, we’ll pick up our study once more in verse 9. Remembering, that Paul’s goal in writing these verses was, and is, to stir our hearts to praise God. In this particular section (v7-12), we are looking at the blessings we receive from God the Son. With that, let’s turn to the Lord’s Word again:
“9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him 11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.”
In these verses, there are two points the Apostle Paul is teaching. Number one is that God has revealed His will to believers. Number two is that believers are made an inheritance for Christ. Let’s look at each point more closely and consider how this truth should change our lives today.
1 – God’s Will, No Longer Hidden
“He made known to us the mystery of His will“
A “mystery” in biblical language is not something hidden, but instead, it is something that was previously hidden but is now revealed. Or, as Warren Wiersbe puts it, “A “mystery” is a divine truth known only by God’s people through revelation.”*1
This revelation of God’s will is yet another blessing we receive by being in Christ. No longer are we stumbling through the darkness looking for the ever elusive “Will of God“. Consider the saints of old. Eve was promised that there would be enmity between her offspring and that of the serpents and that ultimately her descendant would crush his head while he would only bruise his heel; she didn’t know this would come through a Suffering Saviour. Think back to the Israelites and how for years they sacrificed countless animals, not knowing that there would be a once-for-all Lamb sacrificed for all. Recall how God promised Abraham that through his family all the nations would be blessed; he didn’t know that the nations would be blessed through the death of one of his descendants though.
Throughout the Old Testament, this was the case; God would reveal parts of His plan, but the details would remain shrouded in mystery.
Not so for us. God’s will is no longer a riddle but is now a blueprint. And, not only that, “In Christ we are a part of God’s eternal purpose to gather together “all things in Christ” (v. 10). This present world is falling apart with war, strife, and sin. But one day God will usher in a new creation, with all things united in Christ.”*2 Through Christ, God has revealed to the Church the ultimate goal of Creation: to return from rebellion against God and submit to Christ’s rule. One author writing about this verse says:
“literally everything, things in heaven, things on earth, everything above us, around us, within us, below us, everything spiritual and everything material, has even now been brought under Christ’s rule”.*3
Colossians 1:20 and Philippians 2:9–11 also paint this picture:
20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.
9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
I can’t think of anything designed to create more hope in the Christian’s life, than to know that the future of this creation, the future of reality, is in the hands of the One who Created it! Whatever season of life you are in, whether high or low, remember that in the end we will all be under the rule of King Jesus. That, both the highs and lows, point to this culmination of history. We do not walk with no direction, we walk in the direction of our destiny. Be filled with hope Christian, we know the Creators purpose of Creation; therefore live like it and for it.
2 – Pre-planned for Praise!
“we have obtained an inheritance“
Seeing as we spent all our time on our previous point, we will keep this one short and concise.
“God has not only given us an inheritance in Christ (1 Peter 1:3–4), but He has made us an inheritance for Christ. The church is His body, temple, and bride; we shall some day share His glory.”*5
Simply put, this verse is telling us that everything in life is pre-purposed and pre-planned by God so that we would be “to the praise of His glory.” more than that, it is saying that God is literally working in and through “all things” for this very purpose. Stand amazed Christian that the Creator of the universe is intimately involved with every detail of your life to bring about praise to Christ.
*1 – Warren W. Wiersbe, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1992, 538–540.
*2 – Ibid.
*3 – Hendriksen, William, and Simon Kistemaker. New Testament commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 2007.
*4 – R. C. Sproul, The Purpose of God: Ephesians (Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, 1994), 29.
*5 – Warren W. Wiersbe, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1992, 538–540.