Plainer Words Online
Tom L. Ballinger
October 28, 2012
Plainer Words since 1968
PLAINER WORDS ONLINE … FOCUS ON EPHESIANS
“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7).
The Apostle Paul informs the “saints” that, in part, the reason they were quickened together with Christ, raised together with Christ, and seated together with Him was in order for Him to show “the exceeding riches of His grace and His kindness toward us …throughout the ages to come.” Throughout the ages to come, “world without end;” one of the principal purposes of the Church over which Christ Jesus is the Head is to be a living demonstration of God’s Grace. The Church, which is His Body will be known as the supreme endowment of the exceeding riches of His GRACE!
Being the Called of the Ekklesia of the “Mystery,” we are truly THE ENDOWED—“But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ” (Eph. 4:7).
The grace which is to be manifested is said to be “exceeding.” Exceeding means: “going beyond; surpassing; excelling; out doing.” Therefore, the grace to be shown goes beyond, or surpasses the powers of human language to describe.
The word, “exceeding,” is used three times by Paul in this epistle:
“The exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe” (Eph. 1:19).
“He might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Eph. 3:7).
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all” (Eph. 3:20).
Paul has set forth truths which lead us to the point of being able to describe the grace involved. The believer has been told that “in times past,” he lived according to the course of this world and by his very nature were “the children of wrath, even as others.” “But God” intervened, for He loved the believer with a very great love and quickened him together with Christ. Therefore, by grace, He saved all who believed the latest report from God. This showed the “exceeding riches of His GRACE in His kindness toward us” in the eons to come. This is a description of all of us who have believed “the revelation” which was given exclusively to Paul who was the appointed to be the Preacher, and the Teacher, and the Apostle to the Gentiles (2 Tim.1:11).
AGES TO COME
The expression, “ages to come,” is very interesting to those who have been membered into the Church over which Christ Jesus is the Head. This expression of “ages” is noted as appearing three times in Ephesians:
“That in the ages to come He might shew” (Eph. 2:7).
“Which in other ages was not made known” (Eph. 3:5).
“Unto Him be glory in the Church…throughout all ages, world without end” (Eph.3:21).
These are enumerated, only, to point out that “ages” refers to a particular period of time, as distinguished from others, or that it refers to the people who lived in a particular period; hence, a generation. Ephesians 2:7 has reference to particular periods of time in distinction from the present period. Ephesians 3:5 and 3:21refer to generations, not to ages, as such. This was pointed out to validate that the Bible recognizes different times and dispensations. There will be future ages and dispensations, as there were past ages and dispensations. This logically means that future generations will follow this one—the Dispensation of the Grace of God. We can identify four dispensations that follow the Grace Dispensation:
● The Day of Jesus Christ
● The Day of the Lord
● The Day of God
● The “Fulness of Times”
The majority of Christians, as far as their hope is concerned, have taken all of the promises that God has made and have applied them to themselves. As Paul said, “I would not have you to be ignorant brethren;” if you appropriate for yourself promises made to another, that is stealing. “Thou shalt not steal.” This indicates they claim all the blessings for themselves. They fail to consider that each of God’s “Callings” have different “Hopes.” Each Hope has its own promises and blessings. They have failed to heed Peter’s instruction which is, also, applicable to our dispensation—make your Calling and Election sure.
“Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall” (2 Peter 1:10).
If a Christian is serious about “his faith,” he should “give diligence” to make sure he knows what is the Calling to which he belongs. If one is to exercise “due diligence” in acquiring a business or a piece of property, it would seem that “due diligence” would, likewise, be of paramount importance “to make your calling and election sure.” As a Christian, to make certain you know what is the hope to which God has called you (Eph. 1:18)—GIVE DUE DILIGENCE! This requires intensive labor in the Word. But, this may seem like some foreign language to some Christians who are simply satisfied to be “saved.” And, all they hope for is to die and go to heaven. This reply has been heard many, many times.
But, some Christians are more advanced; they recognize Pentecost; the Lord’s Supper; Saul of Tarsus’ conversion; they recognize Saul, also called Paul, turned to the Gentiles; they imagine they see the Lord gradually turning from the Jew to the Gentile during the Acts Period; and they see Paul taking the place of Peter as the prominent Apostle. Some even “see” the church beginning at Pentecost; others “see” it beginning at Acts 9 with Saul’s
Damascus Road experience. Still, others “see” the church beginning when Paul first turned to the Gentiles in Acts 13, as some seem to strain at a gnat and “see” the church beginning at Acts 18, or even Acts 22. To these people, the church-is-the-church-is-the church; and “we are living in the church age.” They are unable, or unwilling to distinguish between “the ” and “the Church, which is His Body.” Church of God
This lack of discernment disenfranchises the Church, which is His Body in the mind of those who are unable to “rightly divide.” This impreciseness robs God of the great demonstration of His matchless grace and kindness to be shown to “US” through Christ Jesus in the “ages to come.” It, also, robs the Church over which Christ Jesus is the Head of all of its glory, and its members of all the exceeding riches of His Grace. It steals away the splendor of His glory which we will be clothed with when He appears, and not only all of these, but also, it robs us of our place and authority in the Administration of our Lord Jesus Christ. These thoughts, by God’s grace, should bring about a reason to “give diligence to make your calling and election sure.”
Many of those who embrace “rightly dividing the Word of Truth” like to use the popular phrase that members of the Church, which is His Body will be “trophies of God’s Grace in the ages to come.” There is infinitely more to our Calling than just being on a shelf as a Trophy of His Grace.
Those of us who have made our Calling and Election sure will find that during The Day of Christ, we will be engaged as Ministers in the Government of Jesus Christ. As pointed out in Part 3 of this study, the work we will be called upon to do will be of great consequence. We will be divinely equipped to execute our assignment. It will be during this lengthy Dispensation (estimated to be approximately 700 years) that we will be called upon “to earn our stripes,” or said in another military term, “to get our wings.” The Day of Christ will be the “proving grounds” for our next divinely appointed assignment in the age to come—The Day of the Lord.
As the “Trophies of God’s Grace,” we don’t deny “That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7). But, over and above us being His show-piece of Grace, we must acknowledge that we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do (Eph. 2:7). The “good works” which we are to perform will be when He transforms our bodies (meaning, “our old man”) so that we will be likened to the glorious body of Jesus Christ (Phil. 3:21). Then, every trace and affect of the Adamic curse will be left behind, either in the grave, or with the change from mortal to immortal. Our change, as His new creation, is beyond my ability to fully grasp or explain.
When the Church over which Christ is the Head is manifested with Him, then, will His “kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” be realized in full measure by the heavenly Principalities and Powers. This “shew” of “the riches of His grace” and “His kindness toward us” will be obvious when we are installed in a position of His Government as being seated together with Christ “far above all” of the heavenly aristocracy. “Far above all” (Ephesians 1:21 refers to our station, or our ranking in God’s Organizational Chart, or to be more precise—His Pre-Millennial Organization).
(To be continued)
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