The universe in all it’s breadth is incomprehensible, but what if the purpose of the universe was an entirely different matter. What if the purpose of the universe was something that could be known and understood? I believe it is, and that it’s hidden in just a few words in the Bible. See, the Bible is like a treasure map that leads to the treasure trove of Christ himself and everything else needed to satisfy the human soul. The book of Ephesians is overflowing with such treasures. It’s not in vain that the book is considered by many to be the most majestic theological exposition of all the Scriptures. And why is it considered this? Because in two verses the point of the entire Bible as well as the purpose of the entire universe is revealed. Don’t believe it? Keep reading.
“making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” Ephesians 1:9-10
I want to look at this Scripture under three headings. First, we’ll look at The Shadow of Christ, second, The Revelation of Christ, and third, The Glory of Christ. So first, the shadow.
The Shadow of Christ – What is a shadow, or better yet, what does a shadow do? A shadow shows you that there’s something real behind it, something hidden, but something real nonetheless, and that’s how we should understand the word “mystery” in this verse. God has made known to us or fully revealed the “mystery” or shadow of the Old Testament: Christ and his gospel of grace. The shadow of the Old Testament has come forth and the mystery is now an “open secret” in the words of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Christ was the shadow of every page in the Old Testament and he is the substance of every page in the New Testament. One of the many Scriptures that shows us this is in Colossians where we read, “These (Old Testament practices) are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ” (Col. 2:17). See, there it is; Christ is the reality or the substance behind the shadow. So, this mystery of God’s will in the Scriptures has been set forth in or revealed in Jesus Christ coming to earth. The shadow has come forth, but what’s it’s all mean?
The Revelation of Christ – So, this purpose in Christ is “a plan for the fullness of time.” In other words, the Father’s purpose in Christ is the point of all time. Peter O’Brien in his commentary on Ephesians refers to this phrase as, “bringing something to a main point.” But what’s being brought to a main point? Time and everything in it. All time and everything that exists in time (“things in heaven and things on earth”) is being brought to the main point, the main purpose of it’s existence, and what is this purpose? The purpose of everything is to be in harmony once again with Jesus Christ, praising and enjoying his greatness and glory. Think about it like a symphony. In a well done symphony, everyone participating is in harmony together, the notes are different, but they are all working towards the grand theme of the conductor. That is sort of what this verse is like. All of creation is like the symphony and Christ is the point or climax of the song. The grand purpose of the Father in the universe is that everything be united in a harmonious symphony to the glory of Christ. And this uniting, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones has said, could better be understood as the reuniting of all things in Christ. Before angels and mankind fell there was a state in which all the cosmos was in harmony with Christ. That is the state which things are being brought back to once again. The symphony has begun through the revelation of Christ, and it will be brought unto completion at his return. But importantly, this phrase “all things” does not mean universalism, as some have thought I’m sure. Everyone will not be saved. All who do not believe the good news of Christ will be cast into eternal punishment in hell outside of the grand symphony. That is the clear teaching of Scripture, but those who believe will enjoy the riches of eternal life in the paradise of God in the new heavens and the new earth, where all things are once again singing in harmony to the praise of his glorious grace (John 3:16; Revelation 21; Ephesians 1:12).
The Glory of Christ – To summarize this passage of Scripture we could say that Christ has been revealed as point of the entire Bible and the purpose of the entire universe. Everything somehow in the end will lead to his glory. But what does this mean for your life? Well, I would say it shows you plain and clear that you have been created to glorify Christ. If the purpose of the universe is to glorify Christ (and you’re a part of the universe), then that’s your purpose. That’s why you’re alive. As the Westminster Confession of Faith says, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” If the point of all time is to glorify Jesus, then invest your time in doing what lasts forever. Any investor, no, any child would tell you that investing your time towards the 1,000,000+ years and more in the future is wiser than investing your time into the 70 years give or take you have on this earth. But how do I do this? The first step for anyone is to believe the gospel (John 6:27). If you haven’t, receive his free gift of grace to forgive you for all your sins, this is the only way to receive eternal life now and enter into God’s paradise at death. If you have done this, then strive to live for the glory of Christ. Seek the Lord with your whole heart and strive to love everyone in your life with all your might. May the song of our lives be in harmony with the symphony of the universe: Glory to Christ.