Recently I have been in discussions with some friends that read my blog fairly consistently and they have, in an effort to understand my beliefs, have baited me by calling me a universalist.
That is fair, since I may not have defined every specific teaching as they may want, most likely due to the fact I honestly haven’t come to a settled persuasion on some of the teaching they may ask about me.
Initially, as I have stated in previous posts, I was surprised with the number of passages that support an evangelical universal reconciliation teaching. Please do not think that this teaching is the same as the “all roads lead to heaven” teaching, which I consider to be blasphemous. There is only one way to the Father, and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ.
With this, I would like to begin delving into some of the New Testament passages Mr. Giles brought to my attention, for your consideration, edification and civil discussion.
Regarding the book itself, I read it in one sitting, not simply because it was under 200 pages, but that it was challenging my though process and I found it enjoyable reading. If this topic interests you, please pick up a copy. It is well worth your time.
Our fourth blog post will begin with passage 4, Ephesians 1:7-10
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight
making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ
as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
Mr. Giles continues with his list of Bible passages, providing Ephesians 1:7-10 for our consideration this morning. Sometimes I like to read the passage identifying the pronoun as I read through the passage. Lets try that with this passage.
In him (Christ) we (believers) have redemption through his (Christ’s) blood, the forgiveness of our (believers) trespasses, according to the riches of his (Christ’s) grace, which he (Christ) lavished upon us (believers), in all wisdom and insight making known to us (believers) the mystery of his (God’s) will, according to his (God’s) purpose, which he (God) set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
God has lavished grace on believers. This grace includes the redemption we cherish, and the forgiveness of our trespasses. Although I previously thought of these two aspects of our relationship to God as being the same thing described in two different ways, I believe these are two separate acts of grace provided to the saint. See Simple Thoughts – Colossians 1:14.
Paul is speaking of the multiple benefits of the grace of God to the believer.
God has allowed believers to know the mystery of His will. Within the will of God, His purpose is in the Messiah, as all things of God are centered in the Messiah. In the Messiah, God has invested all of His will, all of His plan and all of His love.
If my thinking is correct, Paul has elevated the Christ to preeminence and only rightly so. He is the Lord of all. So why does Paul continue with the phrase “to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth”
Unity is a grand theme in the Scriptures. This is not revelatory as the Word often describes God’s pleasure in the unity of the brethren. This is referring to the life of the brethren, yet is this the intent of the apostles message?
The term “unite” in this verse is the Greek word anakephalaioō, and I am not going to ask anyone to pronounce it!
Thayers Greek Lexicon is somewhat helpful.
In Ephesians 1:10 God is said ἀνακεφαλαιώσασθαι τὰ πάντα ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ, to bring together again for himself (note the middle) all things and beings (hitherto disunited by sin) into one combined state of fellowship in Christ, the universal bond
Vines also is referred to below
Eph 1:10, RV, “sum up” (AV, “gather together”), of God’s purpose to “sum up” all things in the heavens and on the earth in Christ, a consummation extending beyond the limits of the church, though the latter is to be a factor in its realization.
Ok, the plan of God is to sum up, or “combine” all things in heaven and on earth. Our God is a rebuilder, One who brings together. It is a teaching that Paul identifies later in this book when he teaches of the Christ knocking down the wall of separation between the Jew and the Gentile. Could Paul be breaching this topic in our verse here? It is a common method of his to introduce a topic somewhat generally, prior to the main teaching being fleshed out.
But what are we to make of the term “all things”. So generic. So “fuzzy”.
Could Paul mean all souls that are in heaven and on earth? All things certainly sound inclusive, and may actually mean all things, without exception. It is a possibility!
Could we be dogmatic on this verse? Certainly not, since it is so generic, so “fuzzy”, and yet there are “fuzzy” passages in the Old Testament, that in thier fulfillment, was much more expansive than many (all?) could have hope for or believed.
With this passage that Mr. Giles provided, a possibility of Universal Reconciliation is allowable in my thinking at this time.
What think you?
Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.