“That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things
in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him”
– Ephesians 1:10
Here we see the revelation of a mystery, a mystery that was not yet known in past ages (see Eph. 3:5).
This mystery was unlike any other, for the answers it concealed spoke of a life-altering reality that would outlast the limits of time. God’s very purpose from eternity past was wrapped up in this mystery, and He ordained a specific point in time (described in Ephesians 1 as “the dispensation of the fullness of times”) when the curtains would be drawn to reveal its dynamic and transforming reality. What was this mystery? Today’s verse gives us the answer: “That He might gather together in one all things in Christ.”
Have you ever thought about what this means? What is this verse talking about? The words “gather together in one” seems to indicate unity, but what kind of unity? When we think of the word, we might imagine several individuals gathering together for the same cause, like the military or something of that nature. However, Ephesians 1 is describing something much deeper than that. It’s not describing people rallying for the same cause, but people participating in the same nature, becoming something that they previously were not. Because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross, He made a way for mankind to be “re-created.”
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away;
behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God…”
– II Corinthians 5:17-18a
Man can now live as a being where all things are made new and are “of God.” This is incredible! Available to us is a life that is not defined by our old ways, where self and Satan drive our beliefs and conduct. We can actually live a life where everything is of God, where His present and active work is the constant outflow of our being! This is all available from being IN Christ! When Ephesians talks about God gathering “together in one all things in Christ,” it means we actually become a part of Him.
“For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.”
– Ephesians 5:30
We are not left alone to try to make something of ourselves in this world… we are made part of the Son of God, and are called to operate according to the work He is doing. Too often (especially if we ever have a craving for spiritual significance) we get caught up in doing our own things to try to please God. But if we look in the next chapter of Ephesians (in verse 10) it talks about, not us thinking up a work for God, but actually being God’s work: “we are His workmanship.” Our proper function is to live as the handiwork of God, where He is fashioning us as He desires. And this fashioning always has one goal in mind: conformity to Jesus Christ. “…created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Notice that actions are involved here, but they do not stem from self-initiation… they stem from our unity and conformity to Christ. The works God has ordained for us to walk in always stem from His work of fashioning us into His Son.
This brings us back to today’s verse… that “He might gather together in one all things in Christ.” This was a mystery from before the foundation of the world: that man could, in actual nature, become one with the Son of God, and thereby live a life that expresses Him. For those who belong to Christ, we have the opportunity that surpasses all others in every way… to live from a position of oneness with Christ; not just advocating His cause, but expressing His very nature in this world!