Monday, 4 July 2016
…having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself… Ephesians 1:9
This verse, again, is a continuation of the previous and on-going thought. The words “having made known” are a single participle which explain the words “made to abound” of the previous verse. That thought, in turn explained “the riches of His grace” of the previous verse. This is more evident when read together –
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself…”
It is the abounding riches of His grace which He has made known “to us.” In other words, there is a select portion of humanity to which this has been revealed. It is those who are the called in Christ; those who have heard the message of what He has done and received it. This would obviously include any who have heard the message whether they received it or not, but Paul is speaking to those who have both heard and accepted the word.
What God has “made known to us” is “the mystery of His will.” The word mystery carries with it more than what we would think of as a mere mystery that can’t be known. It does imply that which was unknown, but it also means that which has been now made known by God’s revelation. And so this mystery is that which is entirely unknowable except and unless it is revealed by God. When it is so revealed, it is a “mystery made known.” Further concerning such a mystery, Charles Ellicott says that, “Reason can apprehend, when revealed, that which it cannot discover; but seldom or never can it comprehend it perfectly.”
The words “of His will” are actually not explained until the next verse. But they mean that there is a mystery that had yet to be revealed by God which is now revealed. Until the time had arrived, God had kept the knowledge of it back from man’s understanding, but in His providence, He has now (meaning in what Paul is writing about) revealed this portion of His will. And this is “according to His good pleasure.”
God has sovereignly determined when, or even if, He will reveal His will to His creatures. We may have a secret that we keep from our loved ones, even until our death. Or we may choose to divulge it at a certain time when we believe that they are ready to hear it. Maybe the children of the family need to come to a state of mental maturity before they hear the news which is hidden. The same is true with God’s mysteries. These are things which cannot be known unless He reveals them to us. The timing of their being revealed is solely up to Him. Behind the timing is the purpose for hiding the thing.
Therefore, being infinitely wise, God knew in advance what He would conceal and when He would reveal it. The revealing of such mysteries are those “which He purposed in Himself.” For this reason, we can find no fault in God for the actions He takes. Being angry at God over things which belong to Him alone makes no sense. He has a right to withhold or reveal His will in His good timing. The words of this verse go along well with the words of Romans 11:34 –
“For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has become His counselor?”
God has chosen our time, place, and position in history for His reasons. When we consider where we are now, we can be grateful in many ways for it. Despite the woes of the world in which we live, we have a great and glorious benefit of our current position. Jesus explained it to those around Him –
“Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Matthew 11:11
John was chosen to live at a specific time in history and was considered very great in that particular dispensation of time, and yet those who followed after him would have a revealing of the mysteries that he was not privy to. In this, they hold a position even greater than he did. Such is the wisdom of God.
Life application: In the world today, we are seeing the fulfillment of Bible prophecy, even right before our eyes. What a blessed time to live! We have a confirmation of the words written so long ago which can help us in our times of weakness where our faith is lacking. And certainly this is needed as the world spirals down all around us. Be thankful for the sure evidences we possess which come right out of God’s marvelous word!
Heavenly Father, as the world continues to devolve into depravity and enmity with You, we still have a wonderful blessing to encourage us in our faith. We have the sure words of prophecy which are being revealed right before our eyes. Events in Your word, written thousands of years ago, are coming true before us. What an encouragement to us as we face enmity and hatred over our continued trust in You. The world can have its depraved party; we have something far, far better to look forward to! Hallelujah and Amen!