THE ETERNAL PURPOSE OF GOD
In today's topic, Paul had written to raise our vision concerning what God has purposed for His own in Christ Jesus. God's eternal purpose centres on the body of Christ because Christ and His church matter to God a lot. Therefore if we want to live a life that counts toward eternity, we've got to embrace God's vision and purpose, not just for our personal lives, but also for the church and then, live accordingly.
Reference: Ephesians 3:11 New International Version (NIV) "This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord."
God's eternal purpose was a mystery hidden for ages, but it was later brought to light through apostle Paul. Though not fully revealed until Christ's death, burial and resurrection, the purpose is not a new idea figured out by God all of a sudden. In other words, God did not devise this plan at the last minute, but rather, He had the idea in His mind before the foundations of the earth or in eternity past.
Paul wrote: "I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God's grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord's people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 3:7-10 NIV). By the understanding of the Scripture, we can see that God's eternal purpose is to make known His manifold wisdom through the church and this purpose was carried out by Christ Jesus, our Lord.
The manifold wisdom of God is made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms because the church exists as the precious prize of Christ's triumph at the cross, and we display God's wisdom and dominion over principalities, powers, fallen angels and those spiritual wickedness in the heavenly places.
Of a truth, the Old Testament foretold the salvation of many Gentiles, but did not reveal God's marvelous plan for the Gentiles as part of this purpose, which is to unite them as one body with Israel in the church (Ephesians 3:6 NIV), seat them with Christ in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:5-6 NIV), and display His manifold wisdom through them throughout the ages (Ephesians 3:10 NLT). Today, God has achieved this purpose by making known the way of salvation through Christ. This tells us that Christ's coming was wrapped up in the eternal purpose because according to our referenced Scripture, the purpose was realized in Christ Jesus our Lord. In other words, the mystery of God's intentions before the foundations of the earth was revealed through Christ Jesus.
Just as Paul penned it down in Galatians 4:4, "But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son….", a purpose hidden for ages in the mind of God, was revealed at the fullness of time. God knew the right time to send His Son and He did it right on schedule. Today, all men of diverse backgrounds come to Christ through salvation, because the whole world has become the target and qualified recipient of God's grace (John 3:16 NIV).
Scripture Reading - Luke 19:10; Ephesians 1:9-10; Galatians 3:24; Ephesians 3:3-5.
Guided Prayer: Precious Father in heaven, I thank you for your Word which reveals that you love the whole world and you gave your one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. This is your eternal purpose for all mankind. By sharing and preaching the gospel, let this purpose be continually fulfilled through me and the saints: that every sinner who repents and is created anew in Christ becomes a member of Christ's body, and is made eternally one with God. By your Spirit, many are reached and saved daily and their eyes are open to see the great and wonderful manifestation of your glory in their lives, in Jesus' Name, Amen!