‘…Making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.’ -Eph. 1:9-10 (ESV)
The word, ‘mystery,’ is quite significant in the book of Ephesians, appearing 6 times (1:9; 3:3, 4, 9; 5:32; 6:19)
Paul says that one of the things we are blessed with in Christ is the knowledge of the mystery of the Father’s will.
So, what is this mystery if it’s now been revealed…?
Thankfully, we don’t have to look too far to find the answer!
‘The mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel’ -Eph. 3:6
‘…A plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth’ -Eph. 1:10
What an amazing God we have- that he not only wanted relationship with one nation, but with all people, that all things be united in him.
This is not some small revelation or mystery, but it was God’s plan for the fullness of time!
We discussed in part 3 of this series that as God’s adopted sons, we get to share in his inheritance (read about that here)- and this same idea is echoed here in the revealing of the mystery: we are ‘fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel’ (3:6).
Notice that this is a spiritual blessing in Christ, i.e. it wasn’t available before Jesus’ ministry on the cross. Before Christ, only God’s people, the people of Israel, could inherit the blessings of being God’s child, but God’s intention from the beginning was that all things in heaven and on earth would be united in his Son, Jesus. As a Gentile, I for one am very glad to hear this good news!
Do we see this fulfilled now? Do we see all things on heaven and on earth united?
Well, not quite…
Sure, now, through Jesus, every tribe, nation and tongue can enter into God’s family and be united in one body- Jesus’ body, the church.
However, it’s not perfect yet. I would say from experience that all things in heaven and on earth are not yet united; sadly, even the body of Christ on earth is not yet completely united!
We’re in a time which we call, ‘The Age of Tension.’
Jesus’ first coming has meant that now, we get to see the fruition of God’s plan, but only in part. We are waiting for Jesus’ second coming, when he will bring everything to completion. When he returns, we will see everything in heaven and on earth united in him; we will see what God has been working towards since the beginning.
It’s exciting stuff! And it’s worth us getting excited about it! The fact that we know God’s will for the fullness of time, and that we get to experience it in part already, is amazing. It should spur in us a desire to see more of God’s Kingdom now- isn’t this what Jesus tells us to pray?
‘Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven’ -Matt. 6:10
This line from the Lord’s prayer sounds remarkably like what Paul says is the mystery of God’s will… It’s like Jesus was giving the disciples a ‘sneak-peak’ into this revelation as he taught them to pray, even before he went to the cross so that this uniting of all things could actually begin!
Let’s be excited about this mystery- that all can partake in the promise in Christ, and that all can be part of the body. Let us commit to praying this prayer- to see God’s Kingdom come and for his will to be done on earth right now as it is in heaven. And let us commit ourselves to God as his vessels, that he may use us to bring forth his purpose for the fullness of time.