That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven…
He will yet gather together again, in one, all things in Christ, filling them from His own fulness laid up in Him; gladdening them with His own joy; quickening them with His own life; beautifying them with His own glory; and sustaining them with His own power and resources. Great indeed must be our Lord, in whom and through whom such purposes are to be fulfilled! And divinely inspired must be the record in which they are revealed! Towards the fulfilment and manifestation in us of that purpose, all God's past dispensations of grace have tended. Note their order.
1. By the Holy Ghost given us and through the gospel, He gathers His people into one faith and one baptism.
2. By faith, as by a spiritual nerve or sinew, He unites us with Christ, making us to become one flesh with Him, as it is written (Ephesians 5:29, "No man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth it and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the Church").
3. He doth so unite us with Christ as to make us sons-in-law and daughters-in-law; nay, He makes us so much nearer to Himself, by how much God and Christ are more nearly united, than any natural father and son can be. As it is written: "I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one."
4. By our being thus gathered together in Christ, we are gathered into the whole body of Christ, and to all that exists under Him, and His angels become our "ministering spirits"; nay, more, we are gathered to all, who in God's predestination belong to Christ, and all things are ours.Oh, the depths of the riches of the wisdom and goodness of our God! There is a climax in our text.
1. His grace in creating us, as Adam in innocency and angels before they fell.
2. His upholding grace, in preventing the fall of elect angels; and His long-suffering grace towards fallen sinners.
3. But beyond all, was that manifestation of the exceeding riches and glory of His redeeming grace, in the gift of His Son, and His revealed purpose to regather us again to Himself in Him, the purchase of His blood, and the partakers of His Divine nature. Creating grace has been surpassed by preventing grace; and preventing grace again by restoring and adopting grace; and thus God has made known unto us the mystery of His will, and "His thoughts which are to usward."
(M. Rainsford, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: