It Is An Understanding of What We Have Come Into When We Have Come Into Christ (continued)
Christ In Eternal Glory: Before the World Was
Now by that Word, we are introduced in the very first place to Christ in pre-creation Glory. And you know the passage or the passages which indicate that.
There are, of course, quite a number of them of which we will not turn to, but here are these two verses in the Seventeenth chapter of John's Gospel, recording that incomparable prayer of our Lord.
Verse 5: "And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own Self with the Glory which I had with Thee before the world was."
Verse 24: "Father, those whom Thou hast given Me, I will that where I am, they also may be with Me, that they may behold My own Glory which Thou hast given Me, for Thou lovest Me, before the foundation of the world".
Christ in pre-creation Glory! We cannot describe it. We do not know anything more about it than these statements, suggestions, hints, allusions. But it is sufficient that the Word of God tells us quite explicitly and definitely that Christ was there "before" the world was with the Father in Glory. All sharing the Divine Glory - a Glorious Being, "before" the world was. Timeless Glory - the Eternal Glory. That is the first statement. I say, there is no use trying to dwell upon it or stay with it, we are told very little more than the fact, but that is where we begin.
But there is a parallel truth revealed, which is a very wonderful one and it goes back apparently to exactly the same period, if we may talk of Eternity as a "period", and that is this next one: what we have called, or what the Word of God here calls: "The mystery of His will." It is in the Letter to the Ephesians, chapter one and verse nine, "Having made known unto us the mystery of His will." What is the mystery of His will? Verse twelve completes the statement, "To the end that we should be unto the praise of His Glory". Do you get the two things? Christ in Eternal Glory: Before the foundation of the world.
In that same timeless time, God deciding to have a people; God willing, willing that He shall have a people. I do not mean being willing, but willing it, if you like determining it, to have an elect people corresponding to the Glory of Christ. That is called the mystery of His will. And do you know that word mystery, does not mean what we commonly in our common everyday language mean by it? When we speak of a thing being a mystery, well, we mean something altogether remote from our comprehension or understanding, something that is very hidden and secret and involved. But in the Bible, in the New Testament, the Word does not mean that, it means a secret which was at one time a secret, but which has now become divulged, revealed, something made known. It was something once in the heart of God, but now it has come out from the heart of God. It was a mystery, it was a secret, but now it is out. It is a revealed secret. That is how the Word is used here. And the revealed secret of His will, "that we should be unto the praise of His Glory," corresponding to what was true of Christ, so far as His being a partaker of heavenly Glory was concerned, shall be true of this elect people.
And this Word Glory, if you will look, has a large place in this letter to the Ephesians. We are not going to turn to each passage, I mention it; you just make a note of it, and see the place that Glory has in this very short letter of Paul's. Eight times, the Word "Glory" is used in this small letter so far as extent is concerned. And then one wonderful usage of the Word in a different form about the church, "That He might present the Church to Himself a glorious church"; Glory, Glorious! And, you know, that the letter all relates to and has to deal with this elect people called the church. That is the second part of the statement which we are not going to stay with any further, but we get those two aspects in the "before times eternal" - "before the foundation of the world" (2 Timothy 1:9). First, Christ in the Glory: Glorious. And then God's determining, willing, that there shall be a people corresponding to Christ in that Glory. That was all true before this world was, and all settled there and then.
(continued with # 10 - (The Will In Action)