Sometimes it is good to slow down and assess the totality of the Scriptures. It is so gratifying to concentrate on favorite doctrines and verses that it is easy to overlook the big picture.
Let’s begin by examining the word ‘counsel’ in the Greek language as found in the New Testament. Consider the following.
“Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel…” Hebrews 6:17
The Greek word for ‘counsel’ in this verse has several synonyms including ‘will,’ ‘intent,’ and ‘purpose.’ It coincides with the meaning of the Hebrew word for counsel found in the Old Testament. Notice the recipients of this revelation, i.e. the ‘heirs of promise’ which are the elect of God. This verse also confirms the immutability, or unchangeableness, of God’s counsel, or purpose.
Paul confirmed God’s purpose and its immutability to His elect. He does so by explaining the twins in Rebecca, wife of Isaac.
“(…for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand…)” Romans 9:11
The point once again is ‘the’ purpose of God relates to God’s chosen, and is immutable.
Paul expounds on the issue in his letter to the church at Ephesus.
“In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will…” Ephesians 1:11
Again, the emphasis is on His chosen. The plan, purpose, will, and intent for His chosen was predestined before the foundation of the world.
God’s plan and purpose for those created in His own image was a mystery until the birth of the church.
“…to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord…” Ephesians 3:10-11
The church is to represent Christ, not only to the world, but to ‘principalities and powers in heavenly places.’ This is all part of God’s eternal purpose which was/is accomplished by His Son Jesus Christ.
The prophets and righteous men of old longed to see and experience that which was revealed to the church. And the whole creation eagerly waits to see the sons of God in their final form.
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord…but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began…” 2 Timothy 1:8-9
Paul summarizes the fact that God’s purpose for man was accomplished through the vicarious sacrifice of Jesus foreordained before time began. His purpose for man was to make him fit for His presence throughout all eternity.
Man had no ability or power to make himself fit to be in the presence of his Creator. Recall in ages past Adam and Eve attempted to cover their sin with fig leaves. But God sent them away from the Garden with new clothes, i.e. skins of innocent animals who had given their life and blood to cover their sin. The ‘coat of righteousness’ was the precursor to Jesus Christ.
Therefore, the Bible reveals that ‘the’ plan and purpose of Almighty God was to create man in His own image and prepare him to share eternity with Him.
The creation activities described in the early chapters of Genesis center on God’s preparing a place for man who was given widespread dominion over the earth.
“Then God blessed them… ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” Genesis 1:28
Even the sun and moon were created for the benefit of man who would learn to ‘tell time’ so they could understand God’s plan as it would be revealed in His providential timing.
God’s purpose is us!
Check out Walt’s book entitled: God’s Plan for His Chosen: the Cost and the Conflict