August 19, 2007
THE MYSTERY OF HIS WILL
After the opening salutation Ephesians 1 presents the “charter of the church.” From verses 3 – 14 we have THE WILL OF THE FATHER (1:3-6), the WORK OF THE SON (1:7-11), and THE WITNESS OF THE SPIRIT (1:12-14). Yet we find “the MYSTERY OF HIS WILL” explained in the portion of the work of the Son, for it was “to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He (the Father) has made us accepted in the beloved (the Son)” (Eph. 1:6).
Through the work of the Son “...we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace; wherein He has abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He has purposed in Himself: that in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him: in Whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him Who works all things after the counsel of His own will” (1:7-11).
Many things can be learned from the Old testament about the will of God. Yet His will kept secret certain items that were not revealed until the appropriate time. It was revealed that Israel should accept their Messiah and, under the New Covenant which He would ratify, become a kingdom of priests and the channel of blessings to the Gentile world. Yet nothing can be discovered outside of Paul’s epistles and the closing chapters of Acts which tell us what God would do if Israel, His chosen nation should fail. Did He have plans to cope with such an emergency?
Satan must have felt, that having prevented the repentance of Israel, he had effectively thwarted God’s purpose. But this is where God’s wisdom becomes evident. He had purposely kept this secret hidden in Himself, what He had planned, and what He would do. Even before the sin of Adam, God chose from among the outcast Gentiles those He would call into high favor. This “secret of His will” was revealed to Paul, the prisoner for us Gentiles.
Ivan L. Burgener