I am really enjoying reading the Bible in this translation. Ephesians starts out with a bang and I thought believers in the good news would fully appreciate this passage.
3-6How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He's the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.
7-10Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we're a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.
This thought of God taking great pleasure in creating man, and his plans for our reconciliation and salvation is overwhelming. I love the word useage of long range plan to bring everything together, summing up in Him everything in heaven and earth.
How does any of that make the least bit of sense with classical interpretations of judgment? How could everything be summed up and brought together if many perish eternally or many suffer in flames or seperation for eternity? How would that bring God pleasure, knowing in advance much of mankind's fate?
We all must perish, either in this life or by the second death. But, He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.
What a great hope we have in Christ Jesus. I was just blessed by reading this section today, and thought I would share.