The book of Ephesians in the Bible is a deep book. If we read it too quickly, it is easy to miss God’s thought. We start to explore God’s full salvation in this deep book. The apostle Paul wrote Ephesians with a rare view of eternity past. God showed Paul something that was in God’s own heart, something that was there in eternity past, even before creation.
Download the MP3 of this post or play it below.
Our aim here, is to see what was in God’s heart. May God give us the spiritual eyes to see such a thing! Then we want to see His eternal purpose which is precisely according to what is in His heart. Finally, God’s heart and His purpose result in His economy, which is His way to fulfill His purpose and the desire of His heart.
God’s plan in eternity past
What is in God’s heart is God’s good pleasure. God’s good pleasure is revealed in multiple verses.
Ephesians 1:5 says: Predestinating us unto sonship through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.
Verse 9 says: Making known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself,
As you can see, verse 9 also shows us how God’s purpose is His will that is according to His good pleasure.
God’s good pleasure and HIs purpose result in God’s economy. Verse 10 says: Unto the economy of the fullness of the times, to head up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth, in Him.
Because both verses 5 and 9 above state that God’s will (or purpose) is according to His good pleasure, then we can say that what God plans to do is out from His heart’s desire. The illustration below may help.
Chapter 3 of Ephesians further reveals God’s economy. Take a moment to read verses 9 through 11.
9 And to enlighten all that they may see what the economy of the mystery is, which throughout the ages has been hidden in God, who created all things, 10 In order that now to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenlies the multifarious wisdom of God might be made known through the church, 11 According to the eternal purpose which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord.
God’s good pleasure
God’s good pleasure is a very significant term in the book of Ephesians. It refers to God’s desire, which is the delight of God’s heart. Our good pleasure is what makes us happy. We are all seeking a certain kind of pleasure. The pleasure we seek comes from the desire of our heart, deep within us. It is good to stop and consider these things.
- Consider what pleasure you seek.
- What do you plan to do to carry out the desires of your heart?
God also has His pleasure. There is something within God’s heart that pleases Him and makes Him happy. It is because there is something in God’s heart that He plans what He plans and does what He does.
Ephesians chapter one, thus speaks about what is in God’s heart. In this chapter, we see that the issue of what started in God’s heart is the church. Go back, and read, and see if you can find the church in Ephesians chapter one. The church is the desire of God’s heart, His good pleasure. The church is not a physical building in your neighborhood; it is something spiritual and something out from the heart of God. May we all have such a deep and even eternal view of the church.
If you would like, you can read all of Ephesians chapter 1: here
God’s eternal purpose
How can we know God’s eternal purpose? It is revealed in the Bible. Ephesians 1:11 says:
In whom (Christ) also we were designated as an inheritance, having been predestinated according to the purpose of the One who works all things according to the counsel of His will.
God’s purpose is God’s will, God’s goal. This purpose is according to God’s good pleasure and comes out from His good pleasure. If we want to know God’s purpose, we must go back to the beginning of the Bible and find God’s purpose. Genesis 1:26 says:
And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of heaven and over the cattle and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.
At the beginning of the Bible is God’s creation. The ultimate step of His creation is His creation of man. His creation of man was special. In it we find God’s eternal purpose.
God’s eternal purpose is to have a group of people, a corporate man, created in His image and likeness. God desires this man to be filled with Him as life in order to express Him and have His dominion to represent Him.
- Can you point out image and dominion in Genesis 1:26?
- How can we say that God desires a corporate man?
- How would you describe God’s purpose using Genesis 1:26?
When we speak of God’s purpose, we specifically say that it is eternal. Eternal means without beginning and without ending. God had this purpose before time began and it will never change. This is why Ephesians 3:11 says:
According to the eternal purpose which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord.
God’s economy describes all the steps God takes to carry out His purpose. In brief, God’s economy is His dispensing Himself into man to produce the church as His corporate expression. God is like a rich father who distributes the riches to His whole household. God’s riches are just Christ Himself and His household is us, the church! Thus, His economy is His household administration through which He dispenses Himself as the divine life to us. The excerpt below talks of God’s economy, Christ, and the Church.
God’s economy is Christ with the church. As we consider God’s economy as revealed in the book of Ephesians, we need to pray that the Lord will give us an open heaven with a clear sky. If we would know God’s economy, not only must we have the knowledge of the book of Ephesians; we must also touch the reality contained in this book. We are not for mere knowledge—we are for reality. The reality in the book of Ephesians is God’s economy concerning Christ with the church.
In relation to God’s purpose, the word economy is unfamiliar to many Christians. The Greek word for economy, oikonomia, is used three times in Ephesians. In 1:10 Paul speaks of a dispensation, or economy, of the fullness of the times, in which all things will be headed up in Christ. In 3:2 he speaks of the stewardship of the grace of God, and in 3:9, of the dispensation of the mystery. The English word economy is an anglicized form of oikonomia, which means administration, stewardship, arrangement, or dispensation. In particular, in this sense economy denotes dispensing. God’s economy is to dispense Himself into His chosen people. Apart from Himself, God has nothing to dispense into His chosen ones. Hence, His economy is to dispense Himself into us. This is altogether related to Christ with the church. (Life Study of Ephesians, chapter 75)
Christ not only came into us to be our life when we became a Christian, but He is ready to dispense Himself into us all the time. May we all open wide and turn to this wonderful One. He is rich and sweet.
Through the course of this Bible study on God’s full salvation, we will see how we are saved from our sins, how we escape judgment, how we are filled with joy, life and peace, and how we become truly spiritual people. We hope that by our having taken this scenic view of eternity past, we also see that God’s full salvation takes care of God’s need. Thus, as we progress through our Christian life, receiving His dispensing, God’s heart’s desire is fulfilled more and more.