Ephesians 1:7-10 (ESV)
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,  [8] which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight  [9] making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ [10] as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

The purpose of all that God does in saving people; the purpose of all that God does in bringing the Gospel; the purpose of all that God does in establishing His church, saving people from all over the world, … is the uniting of all things in Christ, things in heaven and in earth. This is beyond stunning. This is unfathomable. It is simply incomprehensible. What does this say about what the fall accomplished?

Everything that is wrong in the world can be traced back to the fall. Everything that does not perform at optimum level, produce according to purpose, function according to plan … is because of the fall. Not only is it out of whack with its design, it is out of whack with its own plan in the grand scheme of things. Anything that does not act according to its design will therefore be acting out of sync with everything around it. The problem grows beyond our ability to understand when we see that there is nothing that performs according to its original intention and that the world therefore is comprised of a countless number of things that are not performing according to their original plan nor with each other. It becomes a miracle that anything can operate at all and a larger one that any degree of cooperation in the physical or interpersonal world gets done. Everything is tending to decay and it is only the sustaining grace and power of God that enables the world to keep on turning. That rogue cancer cell is acting on its own, different from what it was designed to do and not in concert with the other cells it is supposed to work in unity with. It will eventually kill the body that it is designed to sustain.

Disunity exists because of the fall. Adam and Eve wanted to act independently. Satan wanted to do his own thing and not God’s. The universe cannot survive forever in such a state of incongruency from its intended purpose. The text before us says that it is the Gospel that will bring everything back to being what they were intended to be. It is a plan to unite all things in Christ.

What does this say about the power of the cross? The purpose of each thing, in bringing praise to God, is to do so in unity with every other part that was also created for that same purpose. There is but one thing that can bring a universe, cascading toward annihilation, back to its original purpose – the death and resurrection of the eternal Creator, Son of God. This is just too great for words. Only God can fix what Satan has ruined. Only the Creator can return what he made, back to its original soundness. Only the one who made something knows how to restore it when it gets broken. All human efforts to make the world a better place cannot succeed. We are too small to make everything fit together properly. We are too ignorant to attempt a repair job so that there are no parts still left on the work table after we are done.  We can possibly enable a quarrelling couple to get along but we cannot make them love God and we cannot handle the fall out when their reconciliation means trouble at work because now the husband is not willing to sacrifice his wife to his work projects. That would take a whole company to reassess its purpose and that would require a wholesale change of culture. Something very drastic must be done and it will not be done without the cross. The cross is the focal point. Only at the cross can or will all things be united. And that is what God is doing. This planet, this universe, is going to be united again, with everything doing what it is created to do. And it will do so because Jesus died.

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