Ephesians 1:9-10 says this: “…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.
What does this verse mean? Let’s look at different versions of it to gain understanding. This is called the goal of history by some.
“he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ” NIV
“God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth.” New Living Translation
“He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, with regard to the fulfillment of the times [that is, the end of history, the climax of the ages]–to bring all things together in Christ, [both] things in the heavens and things on the earth.” Amplified Bible
“God did what he had purposed, and made known to us the secret plan he had already decided to complete by means of Christ.This plan, which God will complete when the time is right, is to bring all creation together, everything in heaven and on earth, with Christ as head.” God’s Word Translation
This verse speaks of God’s goal that all things in creation are to be brought back into order. I maintain that also means that God’s created human race is to be brought into order. And that means that those of us who believe concede to letting God bring US back into order, in our attitudes, our choices, and our relationships with others.
The pressures of life are there to “press” us into conformity to the character and nature of Jesus. Every “press” that brings a negative reaction is a place where Jesus needs to be manifested. We were given His nature when we were saved., but we have old habits and ways of thinking that are not of the Kingdom. They are not of God and so we must be transformed and changed. We are automatically changed inside and given a new nature when we are saved, but we must also “work out our own salvation, with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12) and “and be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God..” (Romans 12:2)
God has a plan, a desire, a will for each of us that all fits into His BIG plan for the world, The human mind is unable to fathom this for 7.6 billion people currently inhabiting the earth plus all of those who have gone before and all of those to come. But it’s true, He does have something for each of us to do, a part to play in His Grand Scheme of Things. He knows all of us intimately and why we were brought to the earth. We all get a choice whether to play that part or not. And I have observed in my own life that God is able to move people around, just by a desire one may have in one’s heart. You don’t even know that’s what is happening.
We can look at Bible stories and see the people who obeyed God and the people who didn’t obey God. They didn’t agree to the plan. Abraham went out not knowing where he was going when God told him to leave his homeland. Jonah on the other hand, refused to go to Ninevah and give those ungodly people a chance to repent and turn to God. Then look what happened to him. He took a detour, but ended up being somewhat agreeable to what God asked him to do, after he suffered the consequences. I call him the reluctant prophet, as he seemed to still be mad about it all even after the city turned from wickedness.
Daniel submitted to ungodly wicked kings in captivity in Babylon, being faithful to God and receiving great revelations about what would happen in the end times of the world. He discovered the prophecy from Jeremiah about the captivity being close to the end and became a part of, bringing it to pass with his prayers and fasting.
Esther in captivity obeyed when her people were under threat of extinction and saved them by her obedience and faithfulness. She saved the nation from whom our Savior Jesus would come. Rahab the prostitute assisted the Israelites at Jericho and came into the direct lineage of Jesus. Do not discount your littleness. These all felt the pressure and came into God’s plan for that time.
So I think we can agree that all things are moving toward a distinct destination, or plan, that God has in His mind. There is a culmination of things coming. We are all being moved in that direction. Those who are not saved are feeling the pressure and seeking ways out of it, through drugs, alcohol, sex, shopping, whatever it might be that relieves their pressure. Those of us who are saved and are disciples of Jesus are however, looking in a different direction. We are looking up, knowing the time of our redemption is drawing near. But it is also a time when the ungodly may begin to look up, as a time of reformation and salvation is coming for them too. That is God’s will, God’s plan. Let us be ready! Let every man “be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in him” to those who do not know Him yet. 1 Peter 3:15. “Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;”
We too feel the pressure. But we are, or ought to be, turning to Jesus for the answers. He has a way for us to deal with things and it is not as the world deals with things! This is how all things are summed up in Him. Every time we turn to Him when the pressure comes and submit to His plan, we win and He wins! The Kingdom wins. We are being conformed to His likeness and fulfilling His plan to sum up all things, even things about ourselves, in Christ. Everything is being brought into conformity with Him, is another way to say it. He is waiting until His enemies become His footstool. His plan is that we carry the nature and life of Jesus. The plan is for us to live like Jesus lived and do the things He did. And even greater things are planned for us. We are to be sons and daughters who bring Him glory and that is how we do it, but submitting to His plan and His desires. We are not to be like Jonah, suspicious and harboring ill will toward God and hating the ungodly so much that we don’t want to share salvation with them. Oh, let it never be!
We are to love people like He loves people, and think towards them like He thinks. The more we practice this, the more the attributes of Heaven that will come to us, and the higher our rewards in Heaven will be. We haven’t even talked about that! But yes, there are rewards in Heaven for how much we submitted to Him here on earth. Of course all of our rewards and crowns will be cast at His feet because we could never, ever have done it without Him! Never! We could never be good on our own, we could never love people on our own. It’s all because of Him! He deserves all the praise and glory for it all.
“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.” Colossians 1:16-20