“According to the eternal purpose” (Ephesians 3:11)

By Bob Myhan

Review and Introduction

It has been God’s eternal purpose to give eternal life to those who choose to enter into a saving relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. He hinted at this eternal purpose when He told the serpent,

“And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel." (Gen. 3:15)

He was, again, referring to His eternal purpose when He told Abraham,

“I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." (Gen. 12:3)

And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, "In you all the nations shall be blessed." (Gal. 3:8)

Jacob’s prediction concerning the tribe of Judah also involved the eternal purpose of God.

“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.” (Gen. 49:10)

God promised to make of Abraham “a great nation” (Gen. 12:2). But the formation of this nation was not the fulfillment of the eternal purpose. It was only part of the means of its fulfillment. The law God gave them was their “guardian until Christ came.”

Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise (Gal. 3:23-29, ESV).

I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons (Gal. 4:1-5, ESV)

Though the Israelites were God’s “little children” under the law, their blessings and privileges as such were far inferior to those that would be available in “the fullness of time.” At that time they would have the opportunity to become “adult children” with greater blessings and privileges. But believing Gentiles would also have that opportunity.

“The Fullness of Time”

Synagogue worship, which had begun during the Babylonian captivity, koine Greek, the Septuagint, the Roman Peace and the vast system of roads built by the Roman Empire all contributed, one way or another, to the fullness of time. Never before had travel and cross-cultural communications been easier.

Providence, by various arrangements in the social, political, and moral world, had fully prepared the way for the Redeemer. [from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft]

“God Sent Forth His Son”

Jesus was identified as the Son of God at His baptism and at His transfiguration (Matt. 3:13-17; Luke 9:28-36). He was shown to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead (Rom. 1:4).

“Born of a Woman”

Messiah was to be “her Seed” (Gen. 3:14-15). As the only person ever born into the human family without a natural father (Matt. 1:18-25), Jesus fit the bill.

Since God was His only Father, Jesus is uniquely the Son of God (Isa. 7:14; 9:6-7). But He is, also, the Son of Man (Matt. 1:18-25; 8:20, et al).

On the one hand, of course, the phrase "Son of man" emphasizes Jesus' full humanity. ... But even greater significance is found in the fact that, as in Matthew 9:6, "Son of man" signifies Jesus' redemptive work and mission. ... In the term "Son of man" Jesus presents Himself as the Victor, for He accomplished all that man was intended to do, and becomes all that man was intended to be—Teacher's Commentary.

“Born under the Law”

As the seed of Abraham (Gen. 12:3; Gal. 3:16), a member of the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:8-10) and the Son of David (Luke 3:23-33), Jesus had all the obligations of a Jewish male. He did not come to "abolish the Law or the Prophets ... but to fulfill them. (Matt. 5:17, ESV). And, like an appointment with a doctor, once fulfilled it no longer stands.

then He said, "Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God." He takes away the first that He may establish the second. (Heb. 10:9)

Thus, the Law of Moses is no longer binding. It has been replaced by a new and better covenant (Heb. 8:6-13) and the eternal purpose of God is now being fulfilled.

[To be continued]


By E. N. Lovell

A judge said "intelligent design” cannot be mentioned in an academic setting!!? This is an intellectual insult. Students are in a setting for learning. Yet, the most logical answer to our origin cannot be mentioned! Suppose they said the school building and buses had no designer or workmanship? They would be laughed to scorn and probably given a failing grade. Why? They would have denied the obvious fact that the very presence of those things meant somebody designed and built them! Even more is this so of the universe! Listen to the words of the most learned and reliable book ever printed!

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. (Psalm 19:1, KJV)

The American founding fathers had a far better grasp on these facts than many who consider themselves so highly educated in our day.

"Let divines and philosophers, statesmen and patriots, unite their endeavors to renovate the age, by impressing the minds of men with the importance of educating their little boys and girls of inculcating in the minds of youth, the fear and love of the Deity.” [Samuel Adams, Oct., 1790]

Again, hear another voice from the early days of the United States.

"It is impossible to account for the creation of the universe, without the agency of a Supreme Being.” [George Washington]

Listen, again, to the Book of books.

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. (Psalm 14:1, KJV)

May we all have the humility to do that which is for our own good! May God and His ways be restored to the public conscience and policy. &