|Series Theme: Meditations in Ephesians|
Meditation No. 24
Meditation Title: Open Access
Eph 3:10-12 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
I have included verse 10 again today, partly because it leads straight on into verses 11 and 12, but partly because I felt we only partly touched on what it says. Note its start: “His intent was….” God did what He did through His Son for a number of reasons, I believe, but one of them was that this would be an outcome. Yes, He specifically wanted this to be an outcome. What was the outcome that He had in mind? It was that all the heavenly watchers, the angelic forces, would understand something of His wisdom as He worked out His purposes through Jesus, which they would see as the church was born and human lives would be changed for ever. If the divine plan had been a mystery on earth, had it be so in the courts of heaven? Did the angels look on at the earth and wonder whatever was going on as mankind turned to sin and away from God? Did they wonder why God hadn't destroyed the earth long back? Had there been unanswered questions in heaven for ages? There may even be an implication in all of this that our God who IS love, as we so often remind ourselves, isn't just love towards us, but towards all His created beings, which includes the angelic hosts, even those who fell away.
When John received what we now call the book of Revelation, he was shown the heavenly courts where certainly, then, all of heaven understood the wonder of what the Father and Son had achieved as they sang about Jesus, “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” (Rev 5:9,10) Yes, we have only glimpses of the angelic side of heaven and it would appear that there have been upheavals even there (see Rev 12), but the work of salvation through the Son of God on the Cross clearly impacts the angelic world. The apostle Peter writing about the Old Testament prophets wrote, “It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.” (1 Pet 1:12) Even angels wanted to understand these things – and now they do! What effect does that have? We don't know. It's a side of salvation that we rarely think about.
But see how Paul refers to what God has achieved: “his eternal purpose.” It is a purpose that He has always had on His heart. We've seen previously how God had this plan on His heart even before He created the world because He knew that if He gave man free will, he would turn away. He knew He would have to provide a path back. He knew that the only way this could be achieved would be through His Son: “which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Yes, we've said it many times in these meditations but it needs repeating again and again, it was all through Jesus. Jesus' death on the Cross was THE all important point of history. Yes his coming to the earth in the form of a baby was vital. His rising from the dead to prove to us who he was, and to prove that His Father approved what he had done, was vital. His returning to heaven to reign at his Father's right hand was vital. BUT the all defining point was when he died as a sacrifice to take our sins. Up until that point there was no redemption. His death was THE critical point of history for at that moment justice was satisfied.
But now see the outcome from our side and from God's side: “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” That is incredible. If we have never seen the awfulness of Sin we may not appreciate this. God is utterly holy – pure and perfect. He is also totally just and therefore when justice cries out for sin to be punished, the sinner cannot come into His presence and abide with Him. This is like the thought an unrepentant mass murderer coming and living with the Queen of England or the President of the United States in their personal apartments. We would be horrified at such a thought, but it is the same with God and sinners. There was there impossible divide between us, a divide that could not be bridged - but Jesus' death bridged it and made it possible for us to receive forgiveness and cleansing and come to God. Later in this letter Paul speaks about unbelievers: “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God.” (Eph 4:18) You see that ‘darkened understanding' every time you hear some foolish person say, “God is hard and callous and judgmental.” This wrong thinking is an expression of sin and separates us off from God.
It is only when we have come to the point of surrender and have allowed God into our lives that the revelation comes and we see the wonder of who He is and His love. It is only then that we realise we have open access to him and can come to Him in prayer anytime, just like little children to their loving father. I remember when our children were little (and it still applies today). For some reason there were some people who found me scary – but not my children! They had no hesitation in rushing up to me and jumping into my arms. Their knowledge of me brought them complete “freedom and confidence.” They knew what I was really like. That's how it is with God only more wonderfully so!
We got convicted of our sin and we cried out to God for mercy. He showed us that Jesus has died for our sins, if we will receive that. We surrendered and accepted that wonderful truth and from that second the work of Jesus taking our punishment applied for us. At that moment God also put His Holy Spirit within us and life was never the same again. Suddenly we ‘saw'. We saw we were loved. It may have taken a while for the truth to overcome our years of misunderstandings but we ‘saw' and realised that God loved us and accepted us. Suddenly we had open access and suddenly we felt free to come to Him and suddenly we found a new confidence as children of God. How wonderful!