that … He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth … Ephesians 1:10
In verses 3 through 9 of this glorious doxology in the prologue of the epistle to the Ephesians, Paul is consumed with the matter of God’s grace as it is directed toward men in bestowing all Spiritual blessings upon them. He first describes the unseen and unfelt blessings of eternity past; then he moves on to express the realized blessings of our present condition in Christ – namely our redemption, forgiveness and the revelation of the mystery of the gospel. Now in verse 10, he discloses the summation: God’s grand, comprehensive and ultimate purpose – the reason for which all of this has been done for us – far bigger and greater than our own personal salvation – that … He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth. Here you have the bottom line of God’s heart, the central purpose of His decrees of grace; that for which He and all creation have groaned and travailed for – the re-unification of all things.
In the manifold wisdom of God, He created a variety of beings. In His goodness and love, He called out of that variety, some from every sort, to reconcile to Himself and to each other. God united a variety of persons under one head, namely Jesus Christ; who, in His person, is the sum of all of their natures and conditions (taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men – Phil 2:7), and yet He is distinct from them (yet without sin – Heb 4:15). So we describe Christ as being fully human, while never ceasing to be fully God. So Jesus could rightly and accurately say, “I and My Father are one” (Jn 10:30). The unity of the three persons of the Godhead is the pattern and perfection of God’s design for the ultimate unity of all creation. So much effort has been exercised through the ages to defame the unity that exists between the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit; but any explanation other than the unity of the Godhead, eternally existent in the persons of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, yet one in essence and nature, actually deprives the church of an accurate understanding of the purpose of God to gather together in one all things in Christ. In other words, if we fail to understand the word “echad” in the fundamental Hebrew declaration of Deut. 6:4: “Sh’ma Yisrael, Adonai, Eloheynu, Adonai echad” Hear O Israel, the Lord thy God, the Lord is ONE” we will misunderstand God’s ultimate purpose in uniting everything else. Even contained in the very name of God, “I AM THAT I AM,” God reveals the unity of His nature, and so His desire to reconcile all things in Himself. Jesus Christ made this desire quite clear in His high priestly prayer of John 17, … that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
The unification of which Paul writes in this verse includes that which are both in heaven and which are on earth. So the great divide that exists between God and man is bridged, as the blood of Christ appeases God’s wrath and reconciles Him to His creatures. But then, there also is reconciliation between man and man. The barriers that separate human beings from one another are torn down in Christ. He … has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, … so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross … (see Eph 2:14-17). To see what this ultimate unity looks like, read Revelation chapter 4. God is glorified as a diverse people, who we are told, are from every tribe and tongue and nation, worship and enjoy Him together forever (Rev 5:9,
In order to begin to gain an appreciation for the theme of the unification of all things in Christ, read and meditate upon the following: Jer 32:39, Ez 37:18-28, Zeph 3:9, 14:9, John 14:19-21, 15:3-5, Col 3:11, Eph 4:1-6, Gal 3:28-29, 1 Cor 12:25-27.
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