God chose the Ekklesia, aka, the church in eternity as the third of His principal tools for completing His plan as it plays out in time and space.
Turn to Eph. 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” In all of his epistles, Paul uses the pronoun “us” and “we” to refer to the ekklesia, aka, the church.
To clearly understand the amazing value of that declaration, we must analyze certain words from the original language. “Blessed be” is translated from a Greek word–eulogetos–which means adorable. “Has blessed” is translated from ‘eulogeo’ which means to invoke a benediction upon. “All spiritual blessings” means every commendation available in the spirit realm. According to this scripture, so far, the adorable God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ invoked a benediction upon us that includes all of the commendations available in the spirit realm of eternity. He did that in the same way that He chose us, in Him, before the foundation of the world. In other words, God the Father selected us in God the Son before God the Son created time and space.
Consider what this means in a practical sense. All created things begin with an idea in the mind of its or their creator. That’s the design phase of creation. Everything created comes into existence with a functional purpose, based upon some developmental plan that springs from the mind of its creator. That’s the development phase of creation. Finally, this idea, designed, imagined, or pictured in the creator’s mind, developed as a step-by-step plan, comes into existence so that its functional purpose can be achieved. That’s the deployment phase of creation.
Now, let’s consider what verses three and four in the first chapter of Ephesians mean in a practical sense. God, translated by a Hebrew word–“El” that means indefinable and limitless power, designed, developed and deployed a plan to expand Himself from a single eternal being into a family, composed of millions of beings just like Him, but still constituting just one God. God’s driving and primary motivation is to reveal Himself as an eternal being who is love, possessing the limitless riches of grace as well as limitless faith and hope.
Therefore, His initial step was to personify His thoughts and words. This personification has been revealed as God the Son. Then God personified His power. This personification has been revealed as God the Holy Spirit. Thus God, the original eternal being, came to be personified as God the Father, head of this divine, eternal family. With these actions, God created the concepts of family and team. Therefore, His initial revelation of Himself to His creation is as “Elohim”–a single being revealed as a team that includes His Word and His Power. Elohim also includes the concept of “family,” a collective of beings–word and power personified–perfectly united in one overarching plan and purpose.
The three personifications, traditionally referred to as “the Trinity,” have specific roles and responsibilities in executing this amazing plan. God the Father, for example, serves as the Sovereign Leader for whom all things are done. God the Son was set aside to be the “lamb” or sacrificial instrument of God the Father that He would use to ensure the eternal existence of a group of beings later to be deployed and called humans. Thus, God the Son, as the “lamb of God” became the first tool God the Father designed to use to implement His plan.
God the Son has also been assigned the roles of Prophet, Priest and Potentate in a realm of ruler-ship, known traditionally as the Kingdom of God. God the Holy Spirit was assigned the unique responsibility of living in these limited beings called humans and transforming them so that they could cross over from time into eternity as the literal children of God–spirit as He is spirit, thinking and speaking as He thinks and speaks and thereby behaving in impeccable cooperation with God.
Next God–the Elohim–continued fashioning unique tools He uses to implement the plan He designed, developed and deployed. The second tool was a reproductive instrument that He named “woman.” Turn to Revelation 12 and let’s begin reading in verse one: “Now a great wonder appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of 12 stars.
The word translated “appeared” means literally to gaze–with wide-open eyes–upon something remarkable. The word “wonder,” also translated “sign” is from the Greek word “semeion” and means a supernatural or ceremonial indication. This tremendous wonder–woman–is clothed with the sun, that is, enveloped in light, or brilliance. The concept of moon–or incredible attractiveness–is at her feet. This means that woman is greater than, or elevated above, her attractiveness. So yes, all women, as God deployed them in time and space, are attractive. Yet, her greatness lies not in her attractiveness, but in her brilliance and her unlimited reproductive capacity.
Let’s continue reading.
On her head, this woman wears a crown–or a badge of royalty. That’s the first aspect of this tremendous concept that is greater than her attractiveness–her royalty. She is the creative masterpiece of the only and thereby the great mind of eternity. Thus, she is royal and regal by design. Next, we read this: “She being with child, cried travailing in birth, pained to be delivered.” That’s the second aspect of woman greater than her attractiveness–her ability to give birth to potential greatness. She can give birth to beings who are designed, developed and deployed to become servants–the epitome of greatness (See Matt. 20:26).
Next, God the Son begins designing specific human beings who will become individually and collectively the third instrument of accomplishment in God awesome plan. As God the Son designed these specific beings–first to be human and next to become divine–He parades their individual and collective designs before God the Father. He selects them to be holy–set aside for specific purpose and blameless–beyond condemnation–as far as He is concerned. But how could beings so fatally flawed–enslaved to a nature incapable of “hitting the mark,” and burdened with “anomia” or lawlessness also be seen as holy and un-blame-able in God’s sight? In Romans 6:16 Paul was inspired to refer to this flaw as being enslaved to sin. Now we confront the question: how can beings so fatally flawed-enslaved to always miss the mark and burdened with lawless, ever become free? Without being free from sin, humans can never achieve there divine destiny-to live eternally as the family of God. This potential-being free from sin-became possible because God the Father had already set aside God the Son to become the instrument upon which God the Father would spend all of His wrath against sin–the missing of the mark–based in lawlessness. This group of beings–to become first human and then spirit–were to be known as the Ekklesia–the church, a group of called ones, honored to serve as the body of God the Son as He works on earth in this dispensation of God the Father’s profound plan.
Now, let’s continue in the summary of God’s plan revealed in the first chapter of Ephesians. Let’s pick up at verse five: “Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” Therefore, before deploying this collective of humans, God the Father, working through God the Son and God the Holy Spirit created a legal concept called “adoption,” and predetermined that those selected being would be transferred from one family–humans–to a new family–Elohim–by the legal concept called adoption. As a legal concept, adoption means, among other things, that any evidence of the person’s previous relationship with a prior family is destroyed and the only evidence available for anyone to observe is the legal connection the person has to his or her adopted family.God–the Elohim–did this because He wants to give us eternal positioning and power in this tremendous kingdom known as the Kingdom of God . God describes this as a goal that gives Him tremendous pleasure (See Luke 12:32 and Eph. 1:5).
Thus, as God the Father selected us, God the Son accepted us as His siblings, (Eph. 1:6), knowing that He was scheduled to become the firstborn of God the Father. (See Heb. 1:6).
“In Him, we have redemption–which means to be delivered from. We were delivered from the sinful nature, and thereby also from our citizenship in the Dominion of Darkness, aka “the world.” Yet more important than what we were delivered from is what we were delivered to–the eternal forgiveness of all our sins and into the Kingdom of God. Our citizenship now resides in heaven–headquarters of the Kingdom of God where our High Priest and Potentate serves.
At this point in God’s plan, the three principal tools are ready. The Lamb of God has been set aside to “die in due time.” The woman has been designed and developed, ready to be deployed, first as Eve, and later, symbolically as the nation Israel, who, though it will marry God the Son first, was not His initial choice. The third tool is the Ekklesia, aka the Church, the first choice of God the Son to be His bride and to be deployed on a specific day in 31AD.
Please note that our destiny-the church-is not a function of choice. God never has and never will give us an option of failing by choosing not to live eternally. We do not need the option because we have the records of Adam and Eve and the nation of Israel.
In the Garden of Eden, the tree of life represented Jesus the Christ, the truth, the way and the life. Adam and Even had God the Son’s permission to eat of that tree but did not choose life. They chose to die instead for as God had said: “When you eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall surely die.”
Then the second generation of the Israelites, the ones who were 19 years old and younger who had watched their parents and grandparents die, without honor, as they wandered for 40 years in the wilderness of Kadesh Barnea, were given an opportunity to choose life. Turn to Deuteronomy 30:15-19 “See I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. ‘But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess.
I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.”
This was Moses talking, just months before he walked up into the mount Horeb to die. Now turn to Judges 2 and let’s see what happened with the Israelites after Joshua and all the other elders of his generation died. “Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals; and they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the Lord to anger (Judges 2:12-12). So choices do not work.
Therefore, God has never presented the ekklesia with a choice. Our destiny-predetermined in eternity-has been laid out before us in the following steps:
1. Those he foreknew
2. He called, and those He called
3. He justified and those He justified
4. He glorified
5. He rescued us from the Dominion of darkness
6. He translated us into the Kingdom of God (Rom. 8:29 and Col. 1:13.
God summarizes this work in Philip 2:13 “It is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” What is His good pleasure. Turn to Luke 12:32 “Fear not little flock, it is your father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
Now, as we move closer to an understanding of where we are in God’s plan and what we should be doing, let’s consider one other summary of the plan, this one in 2Cor. 5:14-21 “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all. That those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.” In other words, we no longer consider Jesus, the Christ, the suffering savior. Why not? Because to consider the Christ according to the flesh means we focus on sin. Read verse 21 of this chapter: “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us . . .” Consequently, on the cross, Jesus the Christ, in the flesh, became all the sins of the entire human family throughout all time. Why did God do that? So that we-the ekklesia, aka the church-might become the righteousness of God in him. (see the last part of verse 21).
The word translated righteousness is “dikaiosyne”, pronounced-dik-ah-yos-oo-nay-and it means equity of character. Equity, of course, is the difference between ownership and liabilities. In other words, with property for example, when all debts are paid, the owner possesses 100 percent equity. By making the Christ who knew no sin to be sin for us-in this instance-the ekklesia-God achieved 100 percent ownership of us.
Now that God owns us completely, He’s free to do with us what He wants. God reveals in the Bible three overarching goals that He has for us-the ekklesia. They are as follows:
- God wants to pour all that He is into us so that we become the perfect icon of Jesus. Rom. 8:29 “For whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 1John 3:2 “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when he is revealed, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” 1Cor. 15:28 “Now when all things are made subject to him, then the Son himself will also be subject to him who put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”
- God wants to give us co-equal ownership in the Kingdom of God. Isa. 46:9-10 “Remember the former things of old, For I am God and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying my counsel shall stand, And I will do all my pleasure.” Luke 12:32 “Do not fear, little flock (the ekklesia), for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
- God wants us to become the personification of his grace just as God the Son personifies the Father’s thoughts and words; and God the Holy Spirit personifies the Father’s power. Eph. 2:4-7 ” . . . but God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ, by grace you have been saved, and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
There, you have it! God’s plan for the Ekklesia, aka The Church of God that Jesus builds today.
Next: Do you know God’s plan for you personally?