New Living Translation
9 God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan. 10 And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth.
What does Ephesians 1:9 mean?
Part of God’s wisdom (Ephesians 1:8) was to reveal or “make known” to believers “the mystery of his will.” Paul uses “mystery” more in Ephesians than anywhere else in Scripture (Ephesians 3:3, 4, 6, 9; 5:32; 6:19). This concept is often misunderstood. Paul’s focus is not on some mystical or self-contradictory approach, but simply on something which had been unknown in the past. In this case, a mystery of the past has now been revealed, with Gentiles coming to faith through the coming and resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:3–11).
This revealed mystery is also “according to his purpose.” Paul had already referred to “purpose” in verse 5 and will mention it again in verse 11. In Ephesians 3:11 Paul talks about God’s “eternal purpose,” while in Ephesians 6:22 Paul speaks of his own purpose in sending Tychicus to encourage his readers. God’s purpose referred to in Ephesians 3:9 was “set forth in Christ.” It was not of human creation or wisdom. Only God could design and implement such an amazing, well-orchestrated plan to bring forth His plans and ultimately bring greater glory to Himself.
Ephesians 1:3–14 praises God for the blessings He has provided. Paul ties together the ideas of predestination, God’s glory, the salvation of His people, and the rights we have as children of God. In particular, believers are blessed because God chose, before creation, to save us. That salvation came at a great cost: the death of Jesus Christ. As children of God, we can be confident that God will give us what He has promised: namely, an eternity with Him in heaven.
The first chapter of Ephesians contains two main passages. The first describes the blessings Christians have been given as a result of our salvation through Christ. Paul explains these through praises directed to God the Father. The second section both commends the Ephesians for their reputation, and prays that Christ would bring them into an even fuller and more aware faith
The coming of the Messiah was no hidden mystery, for it was foretold by the prophets of Israel, but God had kept secret one peculiar aspect of His marvellous plan, which He had purposed in Himself before the world was created.
The mystery, that was kept hidden from men and angelic beings alike, was that the unsearchable riches of God’s grace, which He purposed towards whosoever would trust in His only begotten Son (whether Jew or gentile, male or female, old or young bond or free), were to become part of the mystical body of Christ, which is the Church.
It was Paul to whom this great secret was revealed – for the church, which is the body were to become God’s heavenly people, while the nation of Israel will one day be restored as God’s earthly people. The ‘heavenly people’ are to engage in a spiritual war, to demolish spiritual strongholds in high places, so that God’s ‘earthly people’ may receive the earthly inheritance promised to Abraham, Isaac and Israel.
God in His wisdom and kindness, determined to keep the church a mystery, for had Satan and his demonic forces known that God’s plan was to secure back His heavenly realm by means of the Church, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory.
Praise God that we who trust in Jesus are the joyous recipients of this marvellous mystery that was kept hidden in ages past.. but now has been revealed to us, through the apostle Paul – according to His pleasure, which God purposed in Himself – that in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together all things – IN CHRIST.