In the next few posts I will discuss the plan of redemption and the full Gospel of God as touching all parts of our being. I will examine the significance of redemption, why we must be saved, from what and for what we must be saved, why God wants to save us, how he saves us and what we must do to receive salvation. I have a long “short list” of issues to consider and will try to give a brief but sufficient answer to these matters. I hope to offer those who hunger and thirst for righteousness an opportunity to learn more about God’s salvation.
It all begins with the eternal purpose of God: to form a group of people in his image and likeness. God wants to fill us with himself in order for us to express his life and character and exercise his authority to represent him on the earth. This is an eternal purpose because God had planned it before time began and will never change its central character.
Before God fully accomplished his purpose, Satan, the enemy of everything that God represents, came on the scene, cheated the man out of his inheritance and injected him with his own sinful life and nature. As a result, man fell into an unfortunate state of sin practicing sinful acts for having received the sinful nature that disqualified him from fulfilling God’s great and central purpose.
However, God cannot be defeated! Despite the fall of man and the fact that his fall caused his plan to be temporarily frustrated, he still loves man and did not allow anything to deter him from fulfilling his purpose. Hence, God acted to save man to accomplish his eternal purpose. This action represents the full Gospel and the complete salvation offered by God.
God’s final goal is the “adoption” of his people. In the Bible, this word means two main things: maturity in God and the position to inherit all that God is and has. Its meaning is not limited to simply being a child. A child has the life of his father, but is not yet fully grown, and is not yet prepared to take possession of everything that his father has given him. Each child of God will be able to receive his inheritance when he has grown up and matured. In a similar way, God chose us to be his children, full of life, grown up and mature. You can have the life of the Father, which makes you his child, but the will of God is not only for you to be his child, but to be a fully matured son of God. Only under these conditions will we be eligible to inherit all that he is and has done for us.
After the fall of man, the entire human race became sinful children of the devil (John 8:44). However, God chose us to be his children. How wonderful! Although we do not yet appear to be much like God, his choice gives us the confidence that one day we will be part of the many fully grown sons of God, filled with his life, demonstrating his character and expressing his full authority to represent him properly. The church today is the Body of Christ and will be the New Jerusalem in the future.
The church – God’s objective
All of God’s children have God’s life. In fact, the life of God is not a thing but a person, God Himself. To have this life means to have a person living in us, the living God himself. When the only living God fills these many individual people, they become one person, one body. They make up the many members of the body of Christ.
Observe your own body: it has one single life. When you go to school, your whole being goes. When you go to work, your whole person goes to work. Whatever you do, you do so in unity, because within you there is just one person, not two or three, just one.
God is one, a unity of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and he expresses his purpose in this unity. When several individuals receive him as life, they become one with God, and become part of the church, the Body of Christ. In eternity future, such people will make up the New Jerusalem.
Upon reading Ephesians 3:9-11, you will notice that the church is not something that happened only after many people came to the Lord. No, God has planned the church since before the beginning in eternity past. It was because of the church that God saved the world. Through our salvation in Christ, the church came into being in order to express God, and it will continue to be the goal and the eternal dwelling place of God for eternity, as taught in Revelation 21 and 22.
The church, therefore, is composed of people who have God as their life and builder in Christ. They are the expression of God and represent God and his authority.