What On Earth Is God Up To?
Has that question ever crossed your mind listening to the news? We know that Jesus is Lord of all for the sake of His Church and that nothing will happen outside of what He allows. Evil cannot have free reign, no matter what things look like. God is in control. The problem is, it doesn’t always look that way.
Perhaps more to the point, what is God up to in your life? Your congregation or school? What does the new year of 2011 look like for you? What will it bring? What’s going on in your personal life and family? Is there a plan? Does God know what He’s doing? We are tempted to ask, especially when everything is cloudy for us.
To find out God’s ultimate plan, of course, we have to turn to His Word. That’s the place where He lets us in on what He is really “up to.” Just after Christmas, in my church we read from Ephesians 1. Here are verses 9-10 (my translation, with comments):
“(He has) made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His purpose which He put forward in Him (Christ), as a plan (an economy, a way of working things out) for the fullness of times, (a plan) to re-head all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth, in Him.”
What impresses us here? Three times in these two verses Paul uses his favorite phrase in Ephesians 1 – “in Him” or “in Christ.” God’s plans are always centered in Christ. His purpose is “put forward” only in Christ. Without Christ crucified and raised from the dead we cannot see or understand what God is up to.
Secondly, in Christ God reveals to us His ultimate goal, what He is really after, no matter what else we talk about. God is in the process of re-heading all things in Christ. If you say, “Wow, that’s cosmic!” You’re right. The NIV translates this verse, “to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one Head, even Christ.” (1:10b). All things means the whole cosmos, everything that exists. “To bring together under one Head” literally means, “to put the head on again.”
There was a time, you see, when the whole creation knew and lived under its Head. All things were perfect and the whole universe showed Christ as Head. “He is before all things and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17).
Then sin entered in and the world lost its Head and began running around like the proverbial “chicken with its head cut off.” There’s a graphic picture for the world without Christ: running franticly perhaps, but having no real direction (no head) and as good as dead (the life-blood spurting from the headless neck while the unfortunate creature runs aimlessly for a minute or so – excuse me for indulging you in my adolescent memory of butchering chickens with my brother).
Running aimlessly, as good as dead – what’s God’s plan to deal with this? What is God up to now? God aims to put the head on again! To re-head all things in Christ. How?
He gave Christ into death for us, gave Him up for us on the cross where He took all our sin and evil. He raised Him to life, and with Him raised also us. He now gives us His Word to bring life and to reunite us with Christ, our Head.
And THAT is what God is up to in your life, your school, your church, when you hear, read, ponder, study, pray and teach His Word. Cosmic? Yes, beyond your imagination. When a child grows in faith, when anyone is baptized, when people hear the Word of God and take it to heart, when they receive His Body and Blood – it’s a cosmic event! God is re-heading all things in Christ! God is giving Christ as Head for YOU.
But when God unites you with Christ, He also unites you and me with everyone else who believes and is baptized into Christ. We have a life together in Christ. From that life we are called to be a witness to everything God has done to unite us with Christ and with each other. And with Christ as our Head, together we reach out in mercy to a dying world so that we bear witness to this eternal plan of God.
So, no matter what else appears to be going on, take heart in this. God has given you the privilege of being part of His cosmic plan. You have your life from Christ, He is our Head. You are part of God’s purpose to bring life to many more, to unite “all things, things in heaven and things on earth,” in Christ.
And there you have it! Witness, mercy and life together in Christ for a new year! That’s what God is “up to” here on earth, and in heaven above.
A blessed 2011 to one and all!
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