And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment -- to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
Life doesn't make sense sometimes . . . a lot of the time. Things in our world can feel very confusing what with all the political, economic and environmental drama going on every single day (not to make light of any of it!). It's hard to always know which views are right and which are wrong. The lines of moral conduct are blurred at best. There's always a cause to support and a hill to die on but, at the end of the day, have you fulfilled God's calling in your life to unity and love or did you let all those causes and hills separate you?
One of the purposes of Paul's letter to the Ephesians was to broaden their understanding of the Church and its part in God's story of humankind. Paul begins by drawing attention to God's gracious gifts given to us in all of God's wisdom and forethought, not the least of those gifts being salvation. All of this we've already discussed. And, in the same way that God has planned for you, another concept we've already discussed, He has also had a plan for the "times." The "times" encompasses all of history until the moment of Christ's return. Christ's appearance in the New Testament unlocked the "mystery" of His will for humankind. His will for us, Church, is to bring Him praise and glory, to love Him, and, in the end, reign with Him. But, not only that, it's also to show others the way to His love, through His Son, Jesus. The Church was created to bring all believers together under one head, that "Head" being Jesus Christ. We are to be an example of unity and love no matter color, race, gender or age. The same unity and love that binds the Trinity together should also bind us as believers. The Church is to be an example now of how things will be when Christ returns and rules the nations and all peoples no matter color, race, gender or age. In Paul's day, the lines of separation were hard and fast. Very simply put, the Jews were struggling with elitism and rules and the Gentiles were struggling with loose morals and monotheism. (Though, believe me, those issues crossed both lines.) Sounds a little familiar. Yes? Now, it's true, most of the time we fail to be such a great example. We have our own hard and fast lines of separation in our world today: political, denominational, doctrinal, racial, moral . . . the list can go on.
This great mystery IS the Lord's return. His return will bring the end of confusion. Questions about correct doctrine will be no more because Christ will reign supreme! Political views will no longer separate us because Christ will reign supreme! Denominational differences will cease to exist because Christ will reign supreme! Societal ills will fall away because Christ will reign supreme! Broken relationships, financial hardships, sickness and disease will melt before the One whose love captured us at the Cross! All things in heaven and on earth will be subject to His reign and rule. That includes the nations and heads of nations. It includes churches and pastors and governing boards of all kinds. It includes you and me and everything that besets us. In the light of Christ, all things are made right.
There's a lot of questions on this earth that we can't answer -- a lot of things that make no sense. The hard things we face in life can make us wonder, "Why, if God is such a loving God, does He allow this kind of suffering?" The Church is not called to have all the answers. Some things in this life are simply unanswerable. The Church is called, however, to be salt and light to a world where many of the lines of truth and moral conduct are blurred at best -- where hurts and sorrows overtake us to the point of hopelessness. The Church is called to be the place where no one is EVER turned away but, instead, shown the love and light of God in His Son, Jesus. God has given the Church the high calling to be unified in the love of Jesus Christ - perhaps our greatest challenge on this earth - and to show the immeasurable grace from the One who calls us to unity. One day, all questions will be answered. Church, you can take comfort in the fact that God holds the "times" in His hand and one day Christ will return and all things will be made right and life will make sense. Fully. Until that day, Church, remember God's will for you: unity and love.
Accepting His call,