Unity Without Universalism: The Mystery Of God’s Will

Ephesians 1:7-12 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

Redemption is the forgiveness of sin through the gospel of Christ. God made known to us this mystery simply because it brought him pleasure to do so. Verse ten tells us there is more to this mystery. It says “in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth-in Him.” The mystery: total and universal unity in Christ. I do not take this to mean universalism is true; for Romans 9:22 and other places tell us God has not, and will not save all people, nor all spiritual beings. He has destined some people and some angels to bear his wrath for eternity. But I do take this to mean Christ will gather people from all time, and all backgrounds; he will gather things in heaven and things on earth; he will gather and unite into one all things. Or maybe it is better to say he will gather some of all things into one universal church.

During the sermon on Sunday we had a guest preacher named Joel; one of the seminary students. He was preaching on the subject of communion. He said something I found very insightful and encouraging. He said (from the last supper) he believed Jesus was in heaven right now fasting; fasting from the bread and the wine until the great wedding feast. The feast where he will prepare a table for us; a feast where every tongue and nation of people will be gathered to worship the lamb who was slain. Jesus will be there, and will break the bread, and drink the cup with those gathered; those who have trusted and believed upon the Christ who unites all things into one. I can’t wait for that day! What a feast that will be!

Matthew 26:29 But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”

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