The Eternal Purpose
- the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church ... according to THE ETERNAL PURPOSE which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, Eph. 3:10
God had two choices. He could send Adam and Eve to the same “chains of darkness” as all the angels before them (2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6). He could then create a new man and new woman and His flawless creation would remain uncursed, given to others more worthy. It would be like the potter who “when the vessel that he made of the clay was marred ... he made it again another vessel” (Jer. 18:4). God could have done this. He could have taken new clay and made another vessel.
His second choice was to continue to work with the clay He had made. “But now, O Lord, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand” (Isa. 64:8). Although God made this second choice, many changes still occurred, both to Adam and Eve, and to the material creation.
Before sin entered the world, “God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good" (Gen. 1:31). After sin entered the world, “all is vanity and grasping for the wind. What is crooked cannot be made straight, And what is lacking cannot be numbered" (Eccl. 1:14-15).
Adam and Eve saw these changes, but had no answers. Only because God’s “ways are not our ways and his thoughts are not our thoughts” (Isa. 55:8-9) did we have a change at redemption. At this pivotal moment, when all was lost and broken beyond repair, God began to reveal the “manifold wisdom” of His “eternal purpose.” God told the serpent (Satan) that the woman’s seed would “bruise your head.” This was the heart of the “the eternal purpose” that would be “accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
God had known before the foundation of the world that “through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” He knew that “through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners.” This is what Adam and Eve marred in the clay God had created. God saw clearly that when Adam allowed sin to enter into the world spiritual death would “spread to all men because all sinned.” God saw clearly that everyone born to Adam from that moment until the end would also choose to sin as he had. That single act in the Garden of Eden allowed all who lived after to sin and bring spiritual death on themselves.
But God, in His “eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus” determined that “through one man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.” He had already planned that “through the obedience of the one shall the many be made righteous” (Rom. 5:12, 18-19). THINK OF IT! In God’s eternal purpose, just as each man could sin and bring death upon himself because of the single act of Adam did, each man could also believe in Jesus and through the single act of Jesus death on the cross be saved.
It was not after Adam and Eve ate of the tree and brought sin into the world that Jesus death on the cross was planned though. It was before the creation of Adam and Eve that the eternal purpose was devised. God so loved us before we were created He planned to pay the cost of our forgiveness before we sinned. That’s why “He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16)!
- “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past tracing out” Rom. 11:33
It is why Jesus could “open My mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world” (Mt. 13:35). It is what Peter revealed in the first gospel sermon: “Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death” (Acts 2:23). Just read Isaiah 52-53 to see how much of the “determined purpose and foreknowledge of God was already planned before it occurred.
God “saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began” (2Tim. 1:9-10). This is our “hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began” (Titus 1:1-2).
“He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Eph 1:3-5). Thus the plans for the eternal purpose were already completed before the creation. God’s eternal purpose clearly preceded the events in the first chapter of Genesis. God made all the choices we read about in the gospel before time began.
Conclusion. Jesus death on the cross and the church He died to purchase and build (Acts 20:28; Mt 16:16-18), were part of God’s eternal purpose. The cross and the church are the most important part of “the eternal purpose He accomplished in Christ Jesus.” Though Adam and Eve had no plans or solutions beyond the moment they brought sin into the world, God had already thought out all possibilities and prepared for them.
- to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, Eph 3:10-11