Life-Study of Ephesiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
God’s economy is Christ with the church. As we consider God’s economy as revealed in the book of Ephesians, we need to pray that the Lord will give us an open heaven with a clear sky. If we would know God’s economy, not only must we have the knowledge of the book of Ephesians; we must also touch the reality contained in this book. We are not for mere knowledge—we are for reality. The reality in the book of Ephesians is God’s economy concerning Christ with the church.
In relation to God’s purpose, the word economy is unfamiliar to many Christians. The Greek word for economy, oikonomia, is used three times in Ephesians. In 1:10 Paul speaks of a dispensation, or economy, of the fullness of the times, in which all things will be headed up in Christ. In 3:2 he speaks of the stewardship of the grace of God, and in 3:9, of the dispensation of the mystery. The English word economy is an anglicized form of oikonomia, which means administration, stewardship, arrangement, or dispensation. In particular, in this sense economy denotes dispensing. God’s economy is to dispense Himself into His chosen people. Apart from Himself, God has nothing to dispense into His chosen ones. Hence, His economy is to dispense Himself into us. This is altogether related to Christ with the church.
Besides the term economy, a number of other important terms are used by Paul in Ephesians. Three times in chapter one Paul mentions God’s will: the good pleasure of His will (v. 5), the mystery of His will (v. 9), and the counsel of His will (v. 11). God has an economy because He has a will. In eternity God planned a will. This will was hidden in Him. Hence, it was a mystery. In His wisdom and prudence He has made this hidden mystery known to us through His revelation in Christ, that is, through Christ’s incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension.
Another important term is “good pleasure” (1:5, 9). God has a will in which is His good pleasure. This good pleasure refers to the delight of God’s heart. The book of Ephesians speaks from the standpoint of the good pleasure of God’s heart. According to 1:9 and 10, God’s good pleasure is what He has purposed in Himself for an administration. In human terms, God’s good pleasure is that which makes Him happy. There is something within God’s heart that pleases Him and makes Him happy. This is God’s good pleasure. Do not think that the term “good pleasure” is insignificant. On the contrary, it is a very important term in Ephesians.
In Ephesians the word purpose is used three times, twice as a noun and once as a verb. In 1:11 Paul says that we have been predestinated according to the purpose of the One who operates all things according to the counsel of His will. In 3:11 Paul speaks of the purpose of the ages. The purpose of the ages is the purpose of eternity, the eternal purpose, the eternal plan of God made in eternity past. In 1:9 the word purpose is used as a verb: “Having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself.” God has a purpose. Here the word purpose is the equivalent of the English word plan. God has a plan which He made in eternity. God has a plan because He has a will, a good pleasure, and an economy. According to His economy, He made a plan, a purpose.
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