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God has a plan. Stop and think about that. God has a plan. That is stunning but what may feel very haphazard to us some days is not.

  • God has a plan.
  • God has a plan for us.
  • God has had His eye on us.
  • God is looking to do great things in and through us.

God has a “master plan” for how everything works together to bring His ultimate designs together. God is God. This is the way he works. God isn’t into “one offs”. It all works together for achieving what God, through Jesus, has had in mind all this time.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in the Messiah might be to the praise of his glory. [1]

(Ephesians 1:11-12)

Paul correlated our being in the Messiah with God’s having blessed us in every Spiritual blessing, having selected us for consecration and blamelessness, having graced us, and having redeemed and forgiven us. Now Paul correlates our being in the Messiah with our also having been allotted to God, which means that in his Son, Jesus the Messiah, God has acquired Christian believers as his own possession.

This allotment occurred in conjunction with our being predestined (“for adoption as sons through Jesus the Messiah” according to 1:5), and this predestination triggered the carrying out of God’s plan. To assure us that the execution of this plan hasn’t been frustrated, Paul refers to God as “him who is working all things in accordance with the intention of his will.”

All things” leaves nothing outside his plan. To stress God’s will as determinative, Paul personifies God’s “will” by ascribing to it an “intention.”

  • There follows a definition of God’s will, namely, that “we … might be for the praise of his glory.”
  • Earlier, the glory of God’s grace was to be the object of praise.
  • Now it’s the glory of God himself that’s to be the object of praise. But why his glory rather than him himself?

Because the praise of his glory has to do with the brilliance of his plan and of his working it out. Paul doesn’t say that we are to praise God’s glory. He says that God willed us to be for the praise of his glory. That is to say, our very existence as those “who’ve hoped in the Messiah beforehand” is to be for the praise of God’s glory.

“Hope” carries the note of confidence in relation to the Messiah’s return and attendant events, so that “hoped … beforehand” means to have put confidence in the Messiah prior to his coming back as the one who will come back when “the fullness of the seasons” (1:10) has been reached.[2]

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Eph 1:11–12). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] Gundry, R. H. (2010). Commentary on the New Testament: Verse-by-Verse Explanations with a Literal Translation (pp. 758–759). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.