BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD
by Terri White
God had a plan before
the foundation of the world, and it is Ďthis planí that
unfolds in scripture, expressed in covenant. From eternity Godís desire
has been to reveal Himself, and all creation is Godís way of doing so.
It is through humanity, though, that His ultimate plan is to be realized.
No events throughout the ages, beginning with Adam, have taken God by
surprise. Nothing has deterred Him from fulfilling His purpose.
". . . God,
who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our
works, but according to His purpose and grace which was given to us
in Christ Jesus before time began." II Tim.1:8, 9
When we look at the Lord Jesus, "the
brightness of Godís glory and the express image of His person,"
we see God realizing His desire. But when we look at His activity with
His Bride (the Church), we see God seeking His expression in a fuller way
Ė beyond the individual person of the Lord Jesus and beyond the
individual believer Ė to reproduce Himself in the corporate [Body of]
Christ, His many - membered family. It is through the Body of Christ that
God will be "ALL in ALL" and will "fill
the earth with His glory." (See also Eph. 4:13-16)
Regrettably, most Christian teachings
are centered on man, portraying God as manís need-meeter:
For those who are primarily occupied
with personal salvation, their teachings are focused on the redemption
of man Ė beginning with manís fall into sin and ending with manís
redemption and getting to heaven. But since it starts with man, it
ends with man and what man gets. While we certainly do not discount
redemption, we must recognize that it is only part of Godís plan,
and not the whole.
The emphasis of others is in
establishing Godís kingdom and His righteous government on the
earth. Starting with Adam as king in the garden, they end with man as
universal king on the earth. This teaching tends to focus on man and
what God will do through him. We can all agree that God intends to
rule and reign through His Church, but the scope of Godís purpose is
broader than ruling on the earth.
Then there are those who start with
the Eternal God as Creator. Beginning with God in His Genesis
creation, they seek to find meaning and reason for this vast creation.
This framework seems to stop with man transformed into the image of
God and finally enjoying all that God intended in a "new
creation" Ė still focused on man and what we get. This
emphasis also neglects to see individual believers as a part a whole,
the corporate Christ as Ďone man.í Indeed, God purposes to transform
believers into His image, but to begin at creation misses what God
planned before the foundation of
the ages. Again, this is a part of Godís purpose, but not the
If we donít begin from Godís point
of view, we end up with man at the center. But if we begin before the
foundation of the ages, before Genesis 1:1, we start from another point
of view. We start from this question: what is Godís
intent? Answering that question is like Galileo discovering
that the earth wasnít at the center of the universe; the sun was. We are
not the center of the universe; the Son is.
Itís easy to live as if we are the
center of the universe. We wouldnít ever say it, or even think it
consciously, but we can live as if God is here for us: God is here
to bless us, to be successful, prosperous; God has to respond to our
faith; God is obligated to bless us if we do the right things. All of
which mean that man is the center of the universe.
If we start before
the foundation of the world, though, we discover that God has a
plan Ė a plan conceived before time began. Paul revealed Godís plan
most clearly in the first chapter of Ephesians.
the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every
spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. . ."
(Eph. 1:3) It is absolutely Godís intent to bless us. In fact, He has
blessed us with every possible blessing in the heavenly (spiritual) realm.
. just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world. . ."
1:4) God had purpose for us before the foundation
of the world. He chose us for that purpose.
". . . that
we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to
adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself. . ." (Eph.
1:4b-5a) Godís plan involved having a host of sons and daughters Ė a family Ė who would
be holy and blameless in His sight. Through the subjection of the Son to
the cross, God intends to bring all of humanity into glory (Heb. 2:10).
". . .
according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory
of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved."
1:5a-6; see also Eph. 1:12, 14) The Body of Christ exists for the praise
of His glory. And He
"works all things after
the counsel of His will" (Eph. 1:11b) to accomplish that
purpose. And what exactly is it that glorifies God? What has He set out to
accomplish before the foundation of the ages?
wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according
to His kind intention which He purposed in Christ; He planned in the fullness of the
times to sum up all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things
on the earth." (Eph. 1:8-10) Godís plan was to bring into
being a host of sons and daughters whom He would indwell; through whom He
would live and manifest Himself; and in and through whom Christ would
reign supreme. We are the beneficiaries of that plan. God, in His love and
grace, has made us a part of His plan. But we are
not the center Ė Christ is. We are participants in the plan,
participants whom God loves and cherishes and nourishes, as a husband does
his bride (Eph. 5:25-32).
We are Godís
inheritance. We tend to focus on what we inherit
in Christ, but we are Godís inheritance:
pray that the eyes of your heart will be enlightened, so that you may know
what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory
of His inheritance in the saints" (Eph. 1:18).
His inheritance is His Body Ė the
corporate Christ Ė accomplishing His
And though the Bible records manís
fall, that calamity has not done one thing to change Godís
purpose. In fact, Adam's choice in the garden was a part of His plan (see
Humanity by John Gavazzoni). His intention was always to have a vast family of sons and
daughters. The fall did not deter that plan. God incorporates our
redemption into that plan, but the planís goal is still the same. We are
here for the praise of His glory. Romans 11:36 amplifies this marvelous
truth: "For from Him and through
Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever."
FromĖ everything comes from God. Through
Ė by means of Him. To Ė the
ultimate end is into Him, not unto us.
When we look at the cross, we see Christís
work on our behalf. Praise God for that truth. Even more than that,
though, the cross was Godís work on His own
behalf. Through the cross God accomplished what He needed to
fulfill His own eternal purposes, that ALL things might be summed up in
Christ (Eph. 1:10).
Christ lives in us to manifest His life
through us. Christ in us accomplishes His own purposes. Part of His
purpose is intimacy with us, but His plan encompasses more than that. He
is working toward His own ends, and we are the vessels through which He
works. We are the visible manifestation of what
God is doing, with Himself as the ultimate goal,
God may be ALL in ALL"
(I Cor. 15:28). That is why the Father
wants us to be filled up with ALL the fullness
of God (Eph. 1:23).
Alpha and Omega