… as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
The fulfilment of God’s plan is a unity of heaven and earth. In the previous verse we read of God’s will and God’s purpose. Now we read of God’s plan.
This world is not blindly evolving by chance and random mutation. The events of history are not meaningless. Our lives are not driven by fortune and misfortune.
God is behind all of these things. It does not matter whether you believe the world was made 6 thousand years ago or 6 billion years ago. It is God who made it and continues to shape it all for His purposes.
Political leaders may manipulate nations for their own aggrandisement, but they are on a leash that is held by the hand of the Lord.
If we feel that our personal life is out of control, we should remember that God is in control of all things.
He is working on a plan that began before time and involves a Kingdom of people who will worship God and serve Him to His glory.
It is not that we are like pawns pushed around on a chessboard. No, we have agency and will. We are accountable for what we do, but God weaves the will of countless millions of people into His plan.
This plan is a plan for the fullness of time. The word for time is kairos which means the appointed time. There is a time for planting and a time for reaping. These are appointed times.
Jesus was born at a kairos time and died at a kairos time
There is a time appointed by God for things to happen. The kairos times are the critical times, the moments of destiny.
And God has a time for the most appointed of all times, the fullness of kairos, the time of the end of this present age.
At that time the fulfilment, the climax, the end point of all of God’s plans will occur. This is the end point or destiny of everything, the whole purpose of the created order.
On that day (or time), all things will be united in Christ. The whole of creation will find its purpose in Christ.
This is a reversal of the Fall. When Adam and Eve sinned, one result was that creation became opposed, or at least resistant to people’s attempts to harmonise it. Until then Adam and Eve had a garden to tend, but after their sin everything was held back by thorns and thistles.
So on that day, all thing will again be united in Christ. The world will no longer threaten human beings.
As I write this the world is enthralled by a drama of 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped in a cave. The oncoming monsoon rains threaten to make their rescue more difficult. In Japan at the same time there are floods which have killed many people and destroyed whole towns. In Australia we are enduring a long drought.
In each of these situations, the natural order Is opposed to human well being. Even as we pray for relief, nature resists.
But in the fullness of time, this will no longer happen. People and the whole of the created order will be under the reign of Christ,
This raises the issue of judgement. It is Christ who will rule the re-created order. We will be united “in Christ.” Jesus assured us that even the rocks and stones will praise Him.
What of those who refuse to be “in Christ”? What of those who, because of their broken desires, have no wish to be united with “all things” in Christ?
They will not and cannot be a part of the unity of all things in Christ. There will be a Judgement where the sheep are separated from the goats and the weeds from the wheat. Those who exclude themselves from Christ in this age will be excluded from Him in the age to come.
Paul mentions two realms in particular that will once again be united- the heavens and the earth. The implications of this are hard to imagine
The heavenly realm is the place where God and His angels dwell. People are created to dwell in both the physical or earthly realm and the heavenly realm. We are body and spirit.
Sin blinds us to the reality of heaven. We know that God is there, even that He is in us after our conversion. We can conceive of the reality of heaven, but we can only see it through a very dark and distorted lens.
On the other hand, we see, feel, smell, hear and taste very clearly the physical environment- so much so that it often feels that it is the only part that matters.
At the moment, we perceive the spiritual reality by faith which is the confident trust in God. At the fulfilment of God’s plan, in the fullness of kairos time, all things in heaven and earth will be reunited. At last we will see God face to face and we will see all the spiritual realities as clearly as we now see the physical reality.
What a day that will be!
Key points in this verse:
God has a plan and a purpose
All things will be united n Christ
This will happen in the fullness of God’s appointed time