SALVATION IN EPHESIANS

#9 KNOWLEDGE OF GOD'S WILL

Here we find an unexpected aspect of the salvation we have in Jesus Christ:

Paul tells us that God 'made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment - to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ' [Ephesians 1:9-10].

From these verses we understand that

[1] God's will is a mystery that has now been revealed. It is not something we have to search for. In the Old Testament it was communicated in hidden form in many and varied prophetic symbols, prophetic rituals and prophetic words. But in the coming of Jesus Christ the eternal will and purpose of God is made known. It is no longer a mystery.

1Corinthians 2:7-10 Paul affirmed: 'we declare God's wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written: "What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived" - the things God has prepared for those who love him - these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit'.

And Colossians 1:25,26- he referred to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as 'the word of God in its fulness, the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations but is now disclosed to the Lord's people.'

[2] God's will is not something arbitrary, impersonal or deterministic. It is, rather, 'according to his good pleasure'. It is his personal choice. It is his good choice. It is a plan and purpose that is pleasing to him, not in a selfish, sadistic or sinful way as humans so frequently assess pleasure, but in a way that is in line with his justice, his holiness, his goodness, his mercy and his love. It is a purpose which ultimately triumphs over all that causes God grief and pain. We see glimpses of this costly pleasure in Isaiah 53:10-12 and Hebrews 12:2.

[3] God's will has been fixed in his purpose since before the world began. We saw this in Ephesians 1:4 and we will see it again in Ephesians 2 and 3. We can also see it in 2Timothy 1:9 where we read that 'this grace was given us in Christ before the beginning of time'. We see it in Titus 1:2 where Paul teaches that the hope of eternal life was 'promised before the beginning of time'. Jesus spoke of it in Matthew 25:34, when he referred to 'the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world'. And we see it Revelation 13:8 where Jesus is called 'the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.' In Christ, God's eternal purpose is brought to fulfillment and completion.

[4] God's will is centred, revealed and accomplished in and through the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

[5] God's will, which he purposed and accomplished in Christ, and which is already being expressed and seen in part in and through the church, will find its final and complete visible expression when he brings everything under the authority of Christ.

This knowledge of God's eternal purpose in Christ, and incorporation into that purpose, is part of the total spiritual blessedness that every believer already possesses in Christ Jesus.

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2007, 2017