DIVINE OBJECTIVE BROUGHT TO CULMINATION
The means through which this objective was to be realized are also proclaimed. They involve Divine activity, from beginning to end. "For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified" (Rom 8:29-30, NIV).
Divine foreknowledge and determination drive this purpose. The intent is for men--once overcome by the devil himself--to be conformed to the image of God's own Son. That is an ambitious undertaking, to be fulfilled in the very camp of the enemy. Everything will be accomplished according to God's predetermination. The intent of the Lord WILL be done! He will work through the human will, calling people to Himself. Those that respond to that call will be completely cleared of all guilt, and eventually be glorified. The project will be completed down to the personal level!
Read the Word of God with this aspect of God's purpose in mind, and you will behold the work of the Lord afresh. Behold Saul of Tarsus called in personal rebellion, justified through faith, and brought into the conforming process. Behold obtuse disciples wondrously changed by the grace of God into flaming and insightful evangels. The most humble of believers is promised they will be "like Him," for they will "see Him as He is" (1 John 3:1-3). They are informed it is "God that works" in them "both to will and to do of His own good pleasure" (Phil 2:2). How wonderful the execution of "eternal purpose!"
The Display of His Wisdom
One final declaration of Divine intent will suffice for this section of our study. In salvation, God is unveiling an aspect of His character virtually unknown among the heavenly hosts. The wisdom of God is so transcendent that even cherubim and seraphim scarcely discern it. With a stroke of precision's pen, Paul declares this angle of Divine objective. "His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to His eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Eph 3:10-11, NIV).
Some have understood "rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms" to be wicked, as in Ephesians 6:12. There are some difficulties with this view. First, it presents the Living God as engaged in an effort to impress fallen and irreconcilable spirits. Nowhere is the Lord so represented! Second, those that can be impressed can change. They are moral beings capable of adjustment. There is no other need to engage in an effort to teach or affect a personality.
Satan's hosts do not qualify on either count. They are never seen as beings to be taught. Too, it is declared they are incapable of changing. As it is written, "And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day" (Jude 6).
The "principalities and powers in heavenly places" (KJV) are holy beings. We know from Scripture they desire to know more about the great salvation in which we have participated (1 Pet 1:12). Subject yourself to the Word of God with this in mind, and new things will grip your heart! An angel beholds Abraham's faith (Gen 22:11-15). One speaks to Moses from a burning bush (Acts 7:30). Angels attend the birth of our Lord (Luke 2:13), minister to Him during His temptation (Matt 4:11), and strengthen Him during His agony in Gethsemane (Luke 22:43). Throughout the book of Acts, they were active in the spread of the truth (5:19; 8:26; 10:3; 12:7, etc.). We are informed that, in Christ, we have come to an "enumerable company of angels" (Heb 12:22). They have an intense interest in our great salvation!