“…and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.” ~Ephesians 3:9-10
I read these two verses yesterday–and then I read them again. The questions began running through my head: “Through the church? Through the church God revealed his wisdom to the heavenly powers? The divided, weak, sinful church? Is the church really a fit representation of the wisdom of Almighty God?”
Then I realized that the church, as I was thinking of it, wasn’t really what the passage was talking about. In the surrounding context of the revelation of the plan of God, it is evident that the very existence of the church and its nature (as constituted of redeemed mankind–in Christ) was the example to the spiritual rulers and authorities. It wasn’t us and our unfaithful faithfulness that is the example. Once again, all things turn to God–all things are for him and for his glory. It was Christ Jesus, the federal Head of the church, who was the example to the heavenly powers and to all creation.
The gospel itself is that mystery revealed at “the end of the ages” which Paul speaks of so often. This is the manifestation of the wisdom of God to the watching spiritual creatures. Mankind was fallen, lost in sin. God was righteous and just–yet he had been promising throughout history that he would reconcile mankind to himself. The problem is–how?
The Jews tried to achieve this reconciliation through keeping the letter of the law. But God condemned their disobedience. Yet, what other way could there be? God could not simply overlook the sin of his creatures (the fallen angels already knew that very well)–how could he reconcile fallen mankind to himself?
Thus it could be that the church–the church as seen by God in Christ–was the revelation of the wisdom of God to the heavenly creatures. Hence the warning of the apostle:
“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”~Colossians 2:8-15
For the powers of evil, which ruled the sinful, fallen world until Christ, were conquered at the cross. At the cross was the hidden wisdom of God revealed to the entire creation–through the once-for-all sacrifice of the divine-human Mediator, the Creator made a way of reconciliation for his fallen creatures to be counted as righteous before him and to enter into fellowship with him–that he might be their God and they might be his people. Now Christ rules; the power of evil is in recession; and the church is God’s manifestation to the entire creation of the wisdom of his eternal purpose in Christ Jesus.
And this is why I love covenant theology!!!!