GOD HAS BLESSED US WITH INSIGHT INTO THE MYSTERY OF HIS WILL; AND THE UNIFYING PRINCIPLE OF THE WILL OF GOD IS THAT CHRIST SHOULD HAVE THE PREEMINENCE
All of us wrestle with the question: What is the will of God for my life? Why doesn’t God show me clearly what He wants me to be doing? Why does it seem so much like a mystery?
Review: In studying this first Chapter of Ephesians we have already learned much about who we are as Christians and what type of spiritual blessings God has showered upon us. Just as Paul was commissioned to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God and could be confident of God’s will for him, we have been commisioned to be saints — that is God’s will for us. We have been blessed with the riches of God’s grace = every spiritual blessing:
(1) God chose us — to be holy and without blemish — to be saints; to be like the Lord Jesus
(2) God predestined us to adoption as sons — to be saints, conformed to the image of His Son
(3) God redeemed us and has forgiven us our sins — to free us from bondage to sin so that we can live like saints; willing servants of our Lord Jesus Christ
I. GOD BLESSED US WITH INSIGHT INTO THE MYSTERY OF HIS WILL
Why? So that we don’t stumble around in the dark, never understanding how our life fits together and makes sense.
Instead, we can live as saints with insight into the will of God, understanding God’s purposes and plans for the future.
A. This Blessing of Wisdom and Insight is Practical
There is no dichotomy between head and heart knowledge in the Greek mind; your heart can only know through the head.
1. Wisdom — the larger concept — wisdom in its broader sense; insight into the true nature of things
2. Insight — the wisdom of action; the practical use of wisdom; the understanding that leads to right action
(cf. title of Christian radio program — “Insight for Living”)
These 2 Greek words are linked together in the Septuagint:
1) Solomon — 1 Kings 3:12
2) Proverbs (written by Solomon) — 1:2; 8:1
obviously not an academic subject or just ivory tower knowledge in view
MacArthur: “Sophia (wisdom) emhasizes understanding of ultimate things — such as life and death, God and man, righteousness and sin, heaven and hell, eternity and time. Paul is speaking of wisdom concerning the things of God. Phronesis (insight), on the other hand, emphasizes practical understanding, comprehension of the needs, problems, and principles of everyday living. It is spiritual prudence in the handling of daily affairs.”
Probably in this context, used more as synonyms.
B. God is not Stingy With His Blessings (not like Scrooge)
v. 3 — “every spiritual blessing”
v. 7 — “the riches of His grace”
1. All wisdom and insight
2. He made to abound unto us
Illustration: of a cup running over — granting something to someone richly so that they have it in abundance
2 Cor. 9:8; James 1:5
C. God Graciously Revealed This Insight to Us in the Proper Context of His Program for the Culmination of History
1. Described as “the mystery of His will”
“mystery” = something once hidden and not revealed, but now made known openly — a secret (Not something we can’t take in or understand even when it is declared to us)
Background in pagan religions — special esoteric knowledge for the initiated; Instead by God’s grace it is practical knowledge for all of the saints
Once God reveals a mystery, He does not want it to remain a secret;
Problem: natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God
Concept applied to:
1) divine plan of redemption as a whole
2) particular things belonging to that divine plan
a) inclusion of the Gentiles — Romn. 11:25; Ephes. 3:3, 9
b) Transformation of Christians alive on earth at Christ’s coming
1 Cor. 15:52
c) Union of Christ and the Church — Ephes. 5:32
3) Mystery of lawlessness — 2 Thess. 2:7
2. He wants us to know this and has determined that we shall know it
“according to His good pleasure”
“which He purposed in Him” = setting before oneself and so determining
3. Understood in the proper context of his program for the culmination of history
“fullness of times” — kairos
a. chronos — Gal. 4:4 — time measured quantitatively in days and months and years
b. kairos — seasons; the critical epoch-making periods foreordained by God; the decisive times of fulfillment in the purposes of God
Here we are looking at the final culmination of human history; the close of a series of periods (dispensations) each of which had its peculiar character — speaking of the millennial kingdom and the eternal state with the new heavens and the new earth that will be ushered in
History is headed somewhere — the idea of a great household of which God is the Master and which has a certain system of management wisely ordered by Him.
II. THE UNIFYING PRINCIPLE OF THE WILL OF GOD IS THAT CHRIST SHOULD HAVE THE PREEMINENCE
Illustration: In your job you need insight into the unifying principle that should govern your actions (Often: “to make money”)
Greek word for “summing up” — the Greek practice was to add up a column of figures and put the sum at the top. They would want to know “What’s the top line?” just as we ask “What’s the bottom line?” this is what is really important and ties everything together and helps make sense out of all the other numbers.
Also used of repeating summarily the points of a speech, gathering its argument together in summary form.
3 Ideas present in this picture:
1) Restoration — never lose sight of God’s original creation and what was lost through the Fall
2) Unity — in the end, all things will be restored to their intended function and to their unity by being brought back to the obedience of Christ; the gathering together of objects now apart and unrelated into final, perfect unity
cf. Rom. 8:20-22; Heb. 2:8
Remember the Lord’s Prayer — “thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”
3) God wants to exalt His Son — He wants Christ to have the preeminence in everything; He will accomplish this purpose ultimately in history.