What is God’s Mysterious Plan?
In his letter to the Church at Ephesus, Paul wrote, “God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan.” Ephesians 1:9. So, God has a mysterious will regarding Christ, but He has revealed it to us. Okay, then how is it a mystery, if He has revealed it to us? The definition of the Greek word “musterion”, which we translate “mysterious”, is “generally mysteries, religious secrets, confided only to the initiated and not to ordinary mortals.” It’s a mystery that has only been revealed to the select…His followers. Later in this letter, Paul wrote, “As I briefly wrote earlier, God himself revealed his mysterious plan to me.” Ephesians 3:3. He then went on to say in verse 5 that God did not reveal this to previous generations, He waited until the time was right.
Okay, now that we have that cleared up, what is this will? It is to fulfill His good plan! Okay…so, what is the plan? Look at verse 10, “And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth.” At the right time! So, what’s the right time? Paul tells us in Galatians 6:9, “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” All throughout the Bible, we find verses about God’s timing. We must wait on God! The Psalmist told us in Psalm 27:14, “Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” Because, remember what God said to Isaiah, “8My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. 9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth-, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9. We can’t quantify God in any way. His thoughts are so far above ours that we can’t even fathom them.
So, “At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ.” Everything in heaven and earth will be brought under Christ’s authority. Going back to Ephesians chapter 3, verse 6 says, “And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus.” This mysterious plan is that everyone is welcome into God’s family. It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you are from, as the old children’s song says, “they are precious in His sight.”
The Greek word used here for “at the right time” is “Oikonomia” which means, “The management of a household or of household affairs.” So, what He is saying here is, when God’s house is in order, He will bring everything under Christ’s authority. When will His house be in order? People have tried to guess this for centuries. In the early 80’s there was a book called, 88 Reasons Why Christ Will Come Back in 1988…I guess he was wrong. People said He would come back at Y2K…wrong again! The fact is, as Christ told us in Matthew 24:36, we can’t know, the angels don’t know, even Christ Himself doesn’t know when He will come again. You see, God doesn’t want us to know, because He wants us to always live like it will be today. The Apostle Paul expected Christ to return in his lifetime, and so should we.
But, He doesn’t stop there, check out Ephesians 1:11, “Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.” There it is again, why do we receive an inheritance from God? Because we are united with Christ! As I’ve said before, one of the key themes of the New Testament is Unity of the Body of Christ. I’m going to keep bringing this up because the Bible keeps bringing it up. If we don’t tear down the walls that divide us, we will never be effective in this world.
In 1991 the Christian singer Steve Green wrote a song titled, “Let the Walls Come Down”. The lyrics of this song say:
All throughout the spirit realm a fearsome battle rages
The fates of men and nations hang suspended in the fray
Walls designed by Satan in the twilight of the ages
Now stand as great divisions all across the world today
Walls not born of government nor strife amid the nations
But walls within our churches and between denominations
Stones of dry tradition carved in fear and laid in pride
Become a dismal prison to those withering inside.
I love what he says here. These walls within our churches and between denominations are built with stones of dry traditions and they are carved in fear and laid in pride and the Church is the prisoner within these walls. It all comes down to pride, that is what divides the Church. We all think that we are right and everyone else is wrong. Again, the fact is, the only doctrine that matters is that of salvation by God’s grace, through our life-changing faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Much of the doctrines that divide the Church were taken out of context from the beginning. Once again, if we are to make a difference in this world, we must be united in Christ…there is no other way. If we are to receive the inheritance from God, we must be united in Christ.
He ends this passage by saying that God has chosen us in advance, as we talked about last week, and that He makes EVERYTHING work out according to His plan. Notice, not according to our plan, but His plan. And, His plan will always bring glory to Him!
Frances Chan said this, “To be honest, I believe part of the desire to ‘know God’s will for my life’ is birthed in fear and results in paralysis. We are scared to make mistakes, so we fret over figuring out God’s will. We forget that we were never promised a twenty-year plan of action; instead, God promises us multiple times in Scripture never to leave us or forsake us.” And the real kicker; “I think dwelling on God’s plan for the future often excuses us from faithful and sacrificial living now. It tends to create a safe zone of sorts, where we can sit around and have ‘spiritual’ conversations about what God ‘might’ have planned for our lives. Thinking, questioning and talking can take the place of letting the Spirit affect our immediate actions in radical ways.” It still hits me like a brick to read this and to realize once again that if I stay close to Jesus, I really can’t make a wrong decision. (WOAH!) Yeah, let that sink in for a moment. You cannot make a wrong decision. Yes, there are good, better and perhaps best decisions. Forgetting about God’s will for my life does not mean that God has no plan and He’s just up there winging it. But what I think it means to me is that God’s will IS simply for me to be close to Him, and if I am close to Him I’ll already be where I am supposed to be,”
Doesn’t that make a lot of sense? Stay close to God and DO. If He needs to redirect us, He will. But if you are doing anything to glorify God, you are in His will.
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