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Confidence in God's Winning Plan

Ephesians 1:9-10
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 fulfilment – to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. (NIVUK)

Politicians leak good news in order to keep ahead in the polls. The promise of benefit tomorrow is electoral credit today. However, God has never worked like that. He has no need to impress opinion polls - because He is God. But at the same time, He delights to share what He is going to do - so that when it is seen, people know that it is from God's kind heart and powerful hand.

Although Word@Work is looking at only a few verses each in each study, Paul actually wrote Ephesians 1:3-14 as one long sentence all about God's salvation plan and the blessings which are already prepared for those who submit to the authority of Jesus Christ. The Old Testament is full of open clues about Jesus, who He is and what He would do. The plan was a mystery until Jesus was revealed. God's strategy, while wanting to share the salvation plan with His friends, was to make it an indecipherable code to His enemies (1 Corinthians 2:7-8). Even though the whole of the Jews' Bible was intended to prepare them to recognise Jesus when He came, most did not: however, the people who did welcome Him became God's adopted children (John 1:11-13).

It was then the task of the apostles to clarify and define the gospel so that everybody could understand (Ephesians 3:7-9). Anybody who believed could be included in His family and can pass on the good news to others. The Christian believer is now able to see that the whole Bible is intended to reveal Jesus as Saviour and King. And the story is still not over. The physical revelation of Jesus as King of kings is yet to come. There will be a time (known only to God) when His Kingdom will be completed - and when that comes, everybody will know it!

Until then, we have the huge benefit of being allowed to know the plan, to be a part of the plan, to benefit from it and await its fulfilment with confident hope. And even that waiting is a part of God's purpose, because the days between now and then may not be easy. The hope of the Christian is the certain assurance that God will complete all that He has started. Suffering, persecution, hardship and grief are all a part of the package that comes as we trust Jesus (Philippians 1:29): if He suffered, so too may we (John 15:20). Our comfort and encouragement may not come from present circumstances, but from the confidence that He will reward all those who endure and persevere. One day, Christ will be seen as the undisputed King, and Christians will be recognised with honour! So keep on keeping on, with Jesus.

Prayer 
Father God. Thank You for encouraging me through Your Word, knowing that my future is as safe as Yours. Forgive me for being so short-sighted often, only looking at my current circumstances and forgetting that Jesus will come again one day, and that event should set the perspective of my hopes. Help me to keep on trusting You, and keep on speaking about Your kindness and goodness to me - so that my colleagues may desire to be found by You too. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams

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