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The Mystery of God’s Will


Text: Ephesians 1:8-10

Why do we preach so much about Jesus? And why, I suppose did Paul write, “1 Corinthians 1:23 …and Colossians 1:27-28? In this passage we see that God’s will has already been revealed to us, – it is to bring his people, and everything in Creation, together in a new heaven and earth, where Christ is glorified Colossians 1:18

1. God’s Will is a Revealed Mystery. Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will,

In the biblical sense, what is the mystery of the will of God?

• Is God’s Will unfathomable? There certainly are some Christians who believer that we can never know the will of God, and therefore, we should never try to discern it. It is unfathomable, they say. It is a mystery. It is too great for us with our tiny human minds to ever understand. Paul, after all, wrote, in Romans 11:33 There certainly are aspects of God’s attributes, and his ways that he has not chosen to reveal to us. But, on the contrary…

• Is it something we can work out like a detective? But can the human mind ever work out the mystery of God’s will? How could we?

• Is it like the some secret society? Is the Mystery of God’s Will something that is revealed to Christians, as a secret? Are Christians like gnostics, or those pagan cults with a special secret knowledge divulged to them that no-one else has? No.

• Is it all about the minute details of my life? Is discovering the will of God looking for a verse in the Bible, to use like a lucky charm, or to get some confirmation for some life event? We call that ‘promise box Christianity,’ and it can be quite dangerous!

Now, God’s will is none of those things. In fact in this verse, the word mystery simply indicates something that GOD has revealed to US, “Having made known unto us” – something which we could never know by any other means. He has revealed his will clearly and plainly in his word, and it is stated clearly here in Ephesians 1. In fact part of the transformation that we receive in Christ, is to receive an insight into what God is doing, what his purposes are – V8.

There is one other thing that we should note about the mystery of the will of God. God’s Will is about doing what is pleasing to Him. according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: God does that which brings him pleasure! Now, how does God derive pleasure from his purposes? We find the answer to that question in verse 10:-

2. God’s Will is to Unite All of His Creation in Christ! V10 

The phrase that is translated here in the AV as he might gather together is a seriously interesting translation of a single Greek verb. ἀνακεφαλαιόω. The word is based on the root noun for ‘HEAD’ κεφάλι and the prefix ανά just means ‘per’ in the sense of meaning ‘by’ or ‘through.’ So the ESV – “to unite all things in him,” NKJV “He might gather together in one.” And the AV he might gather together are not mistranslations, but they are not exactly literal. The closest to the Greek text is actually the NET Bible, which translates the word, ‘to head up all things in Christ.’ Why is that important? Well, to be under ‘headship’ is to be under someone’s authority. We who are believers, the people chosen by God, redeemed by his grace and adopted into his family, are now placed under the headship, – the authority of Christ – we are ‘in Christ.’ So, Paul tells us that it is God’s will, his good pleasure and purpose to bring all things under Christ’s headship…

a) Because Christ is the Head of his church! It is God’s purpose, ultimately, to unite every believer, from every age, under the Headship of Christ! Right now we are separated, for the church is visible and invisible, militant and triumphant. But one day, every true believer, every one who already has Christ as their Head, who is under his headship, will be gathered together under Him. Because there is a Man in heaven, with real human flesh, that is a sure guarantee to us, that we too can go there, as resurrected human beings, with resurrected human flesh. Think about this.

a) Jesus is our HEAD. PRESENTLY We are described in the Bible as being members of the body of Christ, with Jesus as our head – the head of the body. Ephesians 5:23 Now, our HEAD, says the catechist, is already in heaven. In that sense, we are in heaven too, in that we are firstly members of God’s kingdom. Ephesians 2:4-6 We are, with Christ, already seated in heavenly places! BUT

b) Jesus is our HEAD. FUTURE. The Man in Glory, is preparing a place, an eternal home for us, and we already have the title deeds to that property. It is ours. John 14:2

So that’s a guarantee – a pledge, that because there is one of us already in glory, we will be there too, – in one sense we already are! We will have human flesh and blood, resurrected from the grave, and dwelling in a new heaven and a new earth, with Christ our Head, our Saviour and redeemer.

b) Because Christ is the Head of Creation. We live in a wonderful world, created by God to be UNDER CHRIST, under his headship and authority, and designed by him to bring Him glory. Yet the Bible tells us that one day, perhaps soon, everything in this world will be destroyed. Everything in this world is broken, and it cannot be fixed. READ Romans 8:19-23. One day God will destroy it and will make it all over agin, there will be a new heaven and a new earth, in which righteousness will prevail and the saints of God will dwell in peace and serenity for all of eternity. Christ’s headship, once repudiated in Adam, regained in Christ!

So, God will ‘gather all things together’ – IN CHRIST, universally, both the living and the dead saints, both earthly things and heavenly things. On that day Jesus will be Lord of all, and every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that he is Lord. As we’ve already read in Colossians, – that in all things, Jesus will have the preeminence.

And that is why Paul made the Lord Jesus Christ the centre of his preaching. It is why he taught about sin, and the cross and the need to repent and be born again, to know Christ, – because beside this everything else pales into insignificance. To know Christ is to know that you have eternal life, and that in the future, the eschaton, when God gathers up everything that is in Christ, to be part of his eternal kingdom, you will be included, and all of the glory for that saving work will go to him. To Jesus, and that will bring pleasure to God the Father, our Creator and Redeemer.

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