We just spent the first four months of this year unveiling four different aspects to God’s Eternal Purpose: The House of God, the Family of God, the Body of Christ, and the Bride of Christ. To recap, we present a special series this week from brother Tobias Valdez. The posts to follow this week are excerpts from an upcoming project that he his working on. We’re excited to offer these glimpses here on the blog!
Growing up, I was never really one who cared much for towing the line. I wasn’t concerned about identifying with a particular denomination, political label, or many of the other labels society tries to place upon us. In some ways, I danced to the rhythm of a different drum than those around me. As I got older, somewhere between the years of being 13-18 years old, I questioned a lot of things. Sometimes I would ponder the questions to myself, while other times I would pose the questions to friends, parents, teachers, and others who had some form of influence in my life. Questions like:
Why am I here?
What is my purpose?
What is the meaning of life? (Deep, I know, right?)
What was I created for?
These are questions I think we all ask at some point in life, as they cry from the center of our being to be answered. As I came to know Jesus as Savior and Lord of my life, and seeking to grow in that relationship, those questions eventually turned into questions like:
What is Church?
What is the purpose of the Church?
What is the Church?
What is Christianity really about?
Is this all there really is to being a Christian?
What does it look like to be a genuine follower of Christ?
After years of questions, unfulfilling answers, more searching, and completely by the grace of the Lord, I received a glimpse into the beating passion of the Creator of all things, which was within Him from eternity, and I am ruined for anything other than this. I am convinced that this Eternal Purpose is the Gospel, which we are all called to, which the apostles proclaimed, in which all of life finds meaning, and is the great centerpiece summed up and fulfilled in the person of Jesus, the Christ.
Finding the Correct Starting Point
So, as we begin to look deeper into this mystery, we must be sure to set out from the correct point. For if we search for a treasure looking at a map thinking we’ve started from Point A, when, in fact, we really started at Point B or C, we would be off in our estimations of place and position, not only of ourselves but also of where the hidden treasure truly lies.
Most Christians trace the beginning of the story back to The Fall, in Genesis 3. See if this sounds familiar to you…
…God creates Adam and Eve, they sin, creating the need to be saved from sin, man tries for centuries to live a life that is pleasing to God, but fails miserably at it, so God decides to send His only Son, Jesus, to die for our sins so we can have forgiveness and go to Heaven when we die…And while we’re waiting to go to Heaven, we’re supposed to try to live a good Christian life by accepting God’s love for us, being saved, getting other people saved, reading our bible, going to church, praying every day, tithing, and helping others. All the while, knowing God is holy, we’re just sinners, so we try harder to be like Jesus hoping He is pleased with us so we can go to Heaven.
Does that sound like the gospel you’ve heard? Can this really be all there is to being a Christian?
I can say resoundingly, “NO, THAT IS NOT ALL! THERE IS SO MUCH MORE!” In fact, when we shift our starting point off of a man-centered gospel, and seek to gain God’s perspective, everything changes! So what does it look like when we view things from God’s perspective?
Instead of taking our starting point from the fall of man in Genesis 3, let’s go back further than that. If we look at the first two chapters in Genesis, we can see that sin had not yet entered the world, and there was, therefore, no need for redemption. In fact, Genesis 1 and 2, and Revelation 21 and 22 are the only scripture where we find a universe where sin is not present. In these four chapters of the bible, we find tiny hints into the mystery known as God’s Eternal Purpose. I recommend taking a moment to read Genesis 1 and 2 and Revelation 21 and 22, and see the similarities of what you find in those four chapters (Seriously, do it!).
Throughout eternity, before the beginning (what we see in Genesis 1 and 2), God has had (and still has) an ultimate intention, Eternal Purpose, a desire hidden deep within Himself. This hidden desire is what drove Him to create. Paul tells us, in Ephesians 3:8-12, this mystery, was hidden within God from eternity, and is now to be made known through the Church, and is in accordance with His Eternal Purpose, which He revealed, expressed, and fulfilled in Jesus, the Christ!
Ephesians 3:8-12 (NASB)
“8 To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; 10 so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.” (Also see Romans 16:25-27, Colossians 1:25-27, Ephesians 3:4-5)
In fact, most of Paul’s letters to the churches often begin from this high perspective, then speak to what this means for those who are believers in Christ, and then work their way down into practical matters of living from this perspective. But for some reason, God’s Eternal Purpose is scarcely known among Christians. I believe God is awakening His saints with a hunger to know Him deeply and to live from His perspective within His Eternal Purpose. For to know God is, in fact, to know His burning passion, which finds it’s fullness in our Lord, Jesus, the Christ!
The Divine Expansion
So what is this Eternal Purpose? It is one of expansion, of an enlargement of what already exists within the triune God; the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
In eternity past, (eternity being outside of space and time) the Father, Son and Spirit live in and experience unbroken love in fellowship with one another. The Father is consumed with love for His Son and He pours Himself out, for He is the essence of Love, into His Son. The Son receives the love of His Father and in return pours Himself out into His Father. All the while, the Spirit is there as the conduit, if you will, manifesting this great Truth in the eternal realm. Within this divine fellowship of unbroken love there exists an overflow, which is actually more like an overwhelming desire to expand their unbroken fellowship of love. This overwhelming desire is the driving passion behind all of creation. The full expression of what exists in eternity past, within the triune God, is made manifest and finds its complete fulfillment within the person of Jesus, the Christ.
Within the person of Christ Jesus we see God’s Eternal Purpose realized in several ways; in Christ, the triune God obtains a House for the Father, a Bride for the Son, the Body of Christ, and a Family through which He gives expression of His Life. All of these manifestations of God’s Eternal Purpose are by Him, through Him, to Him, and for Him, so that He will have the preeminence in all things.