All Things United
“…to unite all things in him, things in heaven and on earth.” (Ephesians 1:10)
Bible Reading: Ephesians1:7-10
There is a fourth spiritual blessing God grants us in Christ mentioned in these opening verses – one that is often not recognised. God’s rich grace to us is not only evident in our adoption, and our redemption and forgiveness in Christ, but also in the revelation of his purposes in his Son.
Paul says that God has “lavished” his grace upon us in “making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and on earth” (Ephesians 1:8-10).
The apostle often speaks of the “mystery” of God’s will, his hidden intentions that are made known in Christ (Ephesians 3:9; 5:32; 6:19; Colossians 1:26; 1 Timothy 3:16). Here, that mystery relates to his intent in the “fullness of time” to unite all things in Christ, things “in heaven and on earth”. Paul says something similar in Colossians 1:20 where he writes of how God was pleased through Christ “to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”
“Reconciling to himself” and “uniting all things” seems to refer to the same thing. Sin has fractured God’s perfect creation and brought disorder and alienation where there was once only perfect harmony. God’s plan for the end of time is to bring everything back together again. It is the blood of Christ, and the peace that this procured, that makes this possible. It is the rule of Christ from heaven that secures it.
This is the hope that Christians have. It is more than simply going to heaven when we die and enjoying “eternal life” in an endless but undefined existence. While there is much about the age to come we do not know, this much we do: that it will be an existence in which the entire creation will be restored to perfect order and peace. Everything in heaven and earth will be brought into a relationship of oneness in which God is “all and in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28).
Grasping this has a great influence on how we live now. It delivers us from what some have called an “escapist” view of the Christian life, a view which sees salvation largely in terms of “getting out of this life and into the next”. It helps us appreciate the value of the created world in a way that is easy to miss, and heightens our sense of mission here in the present. God has given us good works to do as part of his eternal purpose in Christ.
These are good works which Christ produces in and through us as we abide in him (John 15:1-7). We are not to shun them, but to embrace them heartily, knowing that in doing so, we are laying up treasure for the age to come.
- Is your mind set on things to come rather than simply what exists now?
- Are you eager to discover and do the good works the Father has for you?
– Andrew Young