PART THREE: A Scriptural Summary:
(This part of this series was inspired, in part, by reading DeVerne Fromke's "The Ultimate Intention.")
LOOKING FOR THE STARTING POINT TO FIND GOD'S PURPOSES
There are basically three past events that men today look to to find God's purpose:
Looking Back To The Fall:
Beginning at the Fall, history appears to be mainly redemptive. Man fell, and who but God could pick him up? But, why did He create us - just to fall and be redeemed? So He could prosper us? Make us a success? We are redemptive-salvation minded. But God says to renew our minds according to His thinking.
Looking Back To God's Commission:
His commission to Adam to "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, and subdue it" (Gen. 1:28). This gives history a governmental or kingdom hue, leaving the impression that man was created simply to rule the earth under God. What would be His purpose in man's establishing a kingdom?
Looking Back To Creation Before Adam:
Starting with creation, we do see a more God-centered approach, as here God is the Creator, Sovereign over His creation. But for what purpose? To create something just for the sake of reigning over it?
But, redemption/salvation, ruling the earth and God being the Sovereign Creator are only parts of the whole. We need to see the parts, not as separate entities in themselves, or able to exist or accomplish a final purpose on their own, but as parts of a whole where all of the parts work together to bring about a common, specified end result. For instance, blindfolded men feeling an automobile might describe a car as:
They need to see all the parts of the car together and then they will know that a car is not just an antenna, or a wheel, or a side, or a door handle. They need their eyes opened to increase their VISION PERSPECTIVE. That's what God wants for us: to see the parts as a whole, not as individual parts separated from the whole. We need to see the antenna and the steering wheel and the door and the door handle together, not as individual realities. We need to see the whole car, while understanding its individual parts.
CORRECTING OUR SPIRITUAL PERSPECTIVE: A RIGHT STARTING POINT
Looking back BEFORE Creation gives us that perspective. The only logical point to start is "before creation." Paul always started with God Himself before the creation of the world. In Romans 11:36, Paul sums up the whole scope of what we need to see: "For OF Him, and THROUGH Him, and TO Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen."
POINT ONE. All things are OF God
This implies something more than all things being FROM God as the source.
In other words, whatever is here is here because God spoke it into existence. First of all, He's the designer. Whatever is here is here because He willed it to be here and exist. All things being OF Him carries with it the idea that this world and all that is in it is not just FROM Him, as though He gave it all to man and took Himself out of the picture. All things are OF Him, telling us what He is like, and since they are OF Him, He retains Sovereignty over all of them.
What we are speaking of here is this: All things are OF God, meaning, we have to SEE HIM AS our ultimate POINT OF REFERENCE. God created, God commissioned, man fell. The Point of Reference did not change through all of this because God allowed these things. In seeking answers to the following questions, we must always go back to God BEFORE CREATION as the true POINT OF REFERENCE.
Why did God create?
Why did God Commission man?
Why did God create us knowing we would fall?
God knew all that would happen before He commissioned, before man fell. No matter what man did, God had an answer or a fix ready.
POINT TWO. All things are THROUGH God
The Bible says all things were created through Him and without Him was not anything made that was made.
The key to this statement is in these two words: ALL THINGS. There's a wholeness in this statement, a realization that since all things are OF Him and came into existence THROUGH Him, then there should be a complete harmony in all things, a harmony without conflict, a harmony without division, a harmony which naturally manifests wholeness and peace where all things are done decently and in order. It's all the parts of the car working together in cooperation. In other words, what we are speaking of here is seeing the parts of the unified whole working together, without losing sight of God as our Point of Reference. There is also a third aspect of this.
POINT THREE. All things are UNTO God
Since all things are OF Him, and all things are THROUGH Him, then there is only One source that can make the whole thing work properly, to make all things work decently and in order, and that's the One who designed the plan in the first place.
In other words, we need to see that God is our Point of Reference, and from that Point of Reference we should see a unified whole with many parts working together, and then we must see Him as the One who guides or coordinates these parts, that everything is done properly and in its proper time frame all the way TO its final conclusion. Otherwise, it would be like starting the car, putting on the cruise control, getting out of the car and letting it go wherever it wanted to go.
Hebrews 1 in the Amplified Bible says Jesus Christ propels the universe with His mighty word of power. No one can help Him with that. The universe is OF Him, it came into existence THROUGH Him, and He coordinates each part of it so there aren't any catastrophes. In other words, He remains in the driver's seat.
Salvation is an example in the spiritual realm. God did not create us to fall, but when we did, He had a plan of salvation waiting in the wings. He said, "Here, Adam. Test drive this and see how you do." What happened was a catastrophe. The lesson: don't get behind the driver's seat.
All things are OF Him, THROUGH Him, and UNTO Him.
In simple language, God made a plan, He established creation as the arena in which He would work out His plan, and He alone will bring that plan to completion.
GOD'S PLAN BEFORE CREATION CONCERNING CHRIST
The pre-chosen Lamb was God's insurance that His intention for men and His Son would be fulfilled. He gave Adam and Eve free will, allowing them to choose whether to live for Him or for themselves. If they chose to live for themselves, the Father was prepared to restore man to a position from which He could fulfill His original intention.
This is God's simple plan for Christ:
In these simple points concerning Christ, we see our salvation being OF God, THROUGH God, and UNTO God, the latter being either for salvation or damnation.
GOD'S PLAN BEFORE CREATION CONCERNING MAN
We often speak of "God's plan for my life" without thinking of when He determined it or what that means from God's point of view. Before Adam existed, God had a plan and a purpose for each individual life in the body of Christ. And because He has the same plan for each of us, it doesn't matter if you are a married executive and I'm a single plumber and he's a Chinese sailor. God is working out His purpose through each of our professions and marital status and restrictions of nationhood. God's purpose for Paul of Tarsus was THE SAME as His purpose for you. That purpose for EVERY MAN is found in Romans 8:28-29:
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
God's purpose in telling Adam to multiply and fill the earth is found in these verses. God knew that one day He would exalt His Son over all things in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and He wanted "many brethren" in order to exalt Him. Now here is the plan for your life in this world, no matter how it seems to differ from everyone else's: "to be conformed to the image of God's Son."
In Ephesians 1:4-5, we find the purpose for the next life:
Let's apply this to what we said before:
OUR POINT OF REFERENCE: God and what He determined BEFORE THE CREATION OF THE WORLD.
Christ would guarantee the fulfillment of His plan as the Lamb of God.
In the fulfillment of that plan, Christ would be exalted over all things by bringing to adoption "many brethren."
These brethren would conformed to His image and likeness, resulting in His bringing them before God holy and without blame in love. These brethren would be the fruit of Christ's work and by their existence would exalt Him.
If we want to know what God is doing, this is what He is doing.
SEEING THE PARTS OF THE UNIFIED WHOLE
All things are to be brought under the headship of Christ. He is to be exalted as the one head over "many brethren," forming one body through the finished work of the cross. In His resurrection, he brought about spiritual realities that speak of this unified whole:
Our Point of Coordination
What God had determined beforehand, He will bring about and only asks our cooperation.
God would gather together all things in Christ.
We will stand before Him in the image of the first-born.
What is crucial to our understanding regarding this Point of Coordination is this:
Ephesians 1:5 - God does everything "according to the good pleasure of His will."
Romans 16:25-26 - What He intended to do regarding man´s rebellion was kept hidden in Himself until He chose to reveal it to Paul.
2 Timothy 1:9 - What He has done, in making a way for us to still be a part of His plan in spite of the fall, was done "because of and to further his own purpose and grace."
The amazing thing is that in spite of man´s fall, it didn´t change God´s plan even one little bit. Even if man had not fallen, God as our Point of Reference, the Designer of the unified whole, and the coordinator of bringing about what He originally intended would not have changed. Fromke says it very well with this paragraph:
"Perhaps we can move the eternal Christ into a proper frame of reference by asking: if man had never sinned, would all things have been summed up in Christ? (Eph. 1:10). If man had never sinned, was it God´s plan for all to be ‘in Christ´? If man had never sinned, would Christ have been incarnated into the human family? It seems evident from Paul´s writing in Ephesians as he moves on the eternal level that the Father intended for His Son to be a means of accomplishment, NOT BECAUSE SIN ENTERED, but even if sin HAD NEVER ENTERED. Consider these statements in Ephesians 1:
God´s plan is perfect whether man fell or not. He chose us IN HIM BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD. That choosing and bringing the unified whole to reality DID NOT rely on our falling or not falling. If we hadn´t fallen, God still would have brought about what He originally intended. Fromke says it this way, and I agree with Him:
"I like the way Watchman Nee puts it:
Dominion is His and we will reign with Him, as Daniel has said:
More Parts Of The Whole
What I´ve just shared deals with the central characters of God´s plans and purposes. There are many other parts that fit into this unified whole, and we want to look at those now:
TITUS 1:1-3: "BEFORE THE BEGINNING OF TIME" God determined to give man "a faith and a knowledge [on which would rest] the hope of eternal life." This would be given "at his appointed season" through preaching. Paul is referring to the knowledge of God on which true faith is based. In addition, God wanted His creature to know who He was and what He wanted him to be. This revelation, which could only come through knowing God and His purpose, would bring men to an intimate union with God, which is eternal life.
1 CORINTHIANS 2:6-8: "BEFORE TIME BEGAN" God hid in Himself "a wisdom . . . that [He] destined for our glory." All who accept the faith and knowledge referred to in Titus 1:1-3 would share in His glory.
2 THESSALONIANS 2:13-15: "FROM THE BEGINNING" God chose us "to be saved through belief in the truth. . . . that [we] might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."
MATTHEW 24:34: "SINCE THE CREATION OF THE WORLD" the Father had His kingdom prepared as part of our inheritance. Notice that the Father has ALREADY done this. If we'd been given the responsibility of setting up that kingdom before Christ's return, we would be establishing our own flawed, incomplete inheritance.
COLOSSIANS 1:26: "FOR AGES PAST" the entire mystery of God was "kept hidden." Finally God revealed the Lamb and commissioned Paul "to present [to the saints] the word of God in its FULLNESS," referring to that mystery of Christ from before Genesis all the way through Revelation. Paul wanted the Church to understand this revelation by the placement of the gospel message in God´s entire plan.
2 TIMOTHY 1:9: "BEFORE THE BEGINNING OF TIME" God delivered, saved and called us "to a holy life." He did this "because of his own purpose and grace. This grace has been given to us in Christ Jesus" before creation.
EPHESIANS 3:9-11: 'FOR AGES PAST [FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD," KJV] God planned to manifest His wisdom "through the Church . . . to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms." He wanted this done "according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord." Paul was commissioned "to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery," that through the Lamb's death and resurrection, the Jews and Gentiles would be united into one body (vv. 4-6). In Christ, God accomplished that purpose so all men, Jew or Gentile, would be given the opportunity to be adopted as His sons through their faith in Christ.
ROMANS 16:25-27: "FOR LONG AGES PAST" God purposed that the Church be established by the "gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden, . . . but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him." God intended for the Church to be established by the gospel and then proclaim it, so people of all nations can have the opportunity to accept His offer to adopt them as His sons by grace. This effectively rules out Restorationism (my term for anyone wanting to establish the kingdom before Christ's return), which attempts to force obedience to God's law on those who aren't His sons.
1 JOHN 1:4: "THAT WHICH WAS FROM THE BEGINNING, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched - this we proclaim concerning the Word of life." The Church is to proclaim the full revelation of Christ, "that which was from the beginning," and who must personally, visibly return to establish God's reign on the earth.
God Didn't Change His Plan
These scriptures tell us what was "in God" before He created anything. This is what God wanted for His own pleasure and satisfaction. It would serve as a standard for His work in the earth until His plan was completed.
This is what God intended for Himself and us before creation. It is obvious that what He expects of us is to help Him further His eternal purpose by simply preaching the gospel. It was with this in mind that God worked through the creation of the earth, the making of man, and man's Fall. He told man to subdue the earth and fill it because He wanted Adam's descendants to be adopted into His family as sons, not so they would establish a kingdom for Him.
The key message here is that God didn't change His plan because of the Fall and He's never told anyone to establish His kingdom on earth. Latter Rain, Restorationism and political agendas are attempts to restore fallen man, living in a fallen world, to a place where he can live righteously and therefore, happily. But God has said He is going to send Christ back at the end of the age to restore all things. He has stuck to His original plan: all is to center in Christ. God's purpose in restoring man from the Fall is to give him access to the hearts of men in order to offer them the originally intended sonship. In God's perfect plan, man is made holy so he can inherit a glorious kingdom already prepared for him with Christ exalted over it. This was the Father's will and pleasure.
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