Tuesday, August 11, 2015

All Things For the Church

In light of the last 3 posts, I wish to submit the following observations on Ephesians 1:22.

To get the full force of verse 22, we need to back up at least to verse 11, and continue to verse 23. In context, here's how it reads:

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:11-23 – ESV)

Notice, first of all, that verse 11 informs us of God's sovereign control, indeed, His decree, concerning all things. Nothing happens, but it falls within God's decree for His purposes. But verse 22 tells something about this purpose: it is all for Christ as the head of the Church. And it is that idea that I wish to focus on after the last three posts. 

Here is what I wish to bring to our attention. Everything that transpires in this world has reference to the Church. Notice that the passage specifically states all things. Temporal blessing and punishments of nations, good and bad weather, high and low prices, war and peace, all things are worked actively by God for the Church under the headship of Christ. At the risk of being overly technical in such a practical observation, it can be stated this way: Reprobation serves Election.

Before bringing our observations to the present, I wish to use the Old Testament as an illustration. Granted, many things happened in world history that are not recorded in Scripture, but it is quite noticeable that whatever world events that are mentioned in Scripture all have this one feature: they serve the advancement and betterment of God's people. Every empire that rose and fell are all viewed through the lens of their effect on the people of God. And God unhesitatingly claims to use these kingdoms as His tools for blessing or chastising His people. Indeed, the ultimate disaster of the ancient world, the Flood, was for the sake of God's people. The world was made a safer place for righteous Noah and his family. Scripture informs us that the Deluge is a precursor, a type, if you will, of the great Day of Judgment, which will again, make the world a safer place for God's people

Now to the present. The recent US Supreme Court ruling in favor of Sodomy, like its previous ruling endorsing the covenant-breaking evil of divorce and the child-murdering horror of abortion, the rise of ISIS and its evil equivalents, the natural disasters, wars and numerous other perils – all these things are ordained and are being overruled by God for His people.

This should serve two purposes.

First, it should calm the fretting hearts of God's people. The world is not out of control. It is under His control. We can sleep soundly knowing that God is sovereign.

Secondly, this should serve to lead us to repentance. Many of the societal evils we lament have gone on virtually unchallenged in what we call “Evangelicalism.” The statistics regarding premarital sex, adultery, homosexuality, divorce, and abortion among professing Christians are staggering. God will not be mocked. And the previous three posts addressed this very point. If God pours out wrath upon a rebellious nation, it will be primarily because those who are called by His name have caused it to be blasphemed.

For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” Romans 2:24

But when they came to the nations, wherever they came, they profaned my holy name, in that people said of them, ‘These are the people of the LORD, and yet they had to go out of his land.’ Ezekiel 36:20

As the previous posts asserted, God may let an individual go unpunished in this lifetime, because He is storing up eternal wrath against him. But the same cannot be said of nations. The nation of America will not go to heaven or hell. Only individuals have a distinct existence in the afterlife. Nations, since their existence is limited to this world, will not go unpunished until the Day of Judgment. And when God pours out the deserved wrath, it will be to vindicate His name which we, by our rebellion, have cause to be blasphemed. “I will make known my holy name among my people Israel. I will no longer let my holy name be profaned, and the nations will know that I the LORD am the Holy One in Israel.” - Ezekiel 39:7

Rather than point the finger at the President, the Supreme Court, Hollywood, or whatever other corrosive influence we can think to blame, we should point the finger squarely at the Church and her apostate behavior. Is it any wonder that the PCUSA and others of her ilk are endorsing sodomy, when the core doctrines of the Christian faith, such as the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Virgin Birth, the Deity of Christ, and the Resurrection have been openly scorned in the seminaries and pulpits of the mainline denominations for over a century?

It is in the light of these consideration that Christians should view the world.



  1. Good post, Andy, but I will quibble with this one point, that by means of the disasters in this world, God is making the world "a safer place for God's people." If you were to say a "safe place", I would agree, but I don't believe the world is getting better or that God is preparing us for heaven through our sanctification. He has already prepared us for heaven by what what He accomplished on the cross (our justification), and now he is preparing heaven for us, not us for heaven. I suspect that you do not disagree with my point, for you also said that the disasters of this world are temporal, not eternal. They point to our condemnation in Adam, for which cause is salvation in Christ.

    1. Hudson, thanks for your comments.

      No, I do not disagree with your point. Perhaps I was not sufficiently clear in what I meant by "safer place." I merely refer to God's dealing with the reprobate. His judgment of them is for the benefit of His people. The Church is Christ's body. It is not a place, strictly speaking, though we often speak that way - and perhaps with propriety. When God judges the wicked, His people are the beneficiaries.

      The title of the article is a nod to Ephesians 1:22 - "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,"

  2. The Church is merely a place of refuge, a sanctuary city for guilty ones that are declared innocent by the purchase of blood. The Church is not the "new Jerusalem" and is not of itself the source or medium of salvation. It is the place into which God places His Elect pending their Judgement and resurrection to heaven. Perhaps nobody understood the purpose of the Church better than Paul who said (Galatians 2:13-14) that through infirmity (temptation) he preached the Gospel and was subjected to trial in his flesh, yet the Galatians despised him not, but received him as sent by Christ Jesus.


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