Best of Daily Reflections: God’s Plan: To Bring Unity to All Things Under Christ

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling

With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

Ephesians 1:10

In Ephesians 1:10, we finally learn the content of God's "mystery," his big plan for the cosmos: "to bring to unity all things in heaven and on earth under Christ" (NIV). Other translations speak of God "bringing everything together" (NLT) or working "to unite all things" (ESV) or "to gather up all things" (NRSV).

The Greek verb that is translated in these various ways is a rare one (anakephalaioo). In the New Testament, this verb appears only here and in Romans 13:9: The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up [anakephalaioutai] in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This usage in Romans reflects the ordinary sense of the verb: "to sum up, to recapitulate." It can be used for the process of adding up numbers or summarizing an argument. This verb is based on the word kephalion, which means a sum or a summary. It is related, though not directly, to the Greek word kephale, which means "head."

So then, what does it mean that God is summing up all things under Christ? English translations rightly convey the unifying sense of this verse. In Christ, God is tying together all of history. Moreover, through Christ, God is bringing together all things, uniting them according to his eternal purpose. Implicitly, apart from Christ, all things are disunited and dysfunctional. Through Christ, all things will be brought back into the unity God intended for them from the beginning.

Though the theology in this verse can stretch or even boggle our minds, we all have experienced the disconnection and brokenness that is assumed here. We know what it's like to live in a divided world, one that is filled with violence and injustice. We experience such disunity in our own families, workplaces, communities, and churches...and even in our own souls. Something in us yearns for healing, for connection, for unity. We fervently desire the unity of all things that God is forging through Christ.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: I'll have more to say about this unity tomorrow. For now, you might reflect on the following questions. In ways do you experience the brokenness and fragmentation assumed by verse 10? When you think of Christ bringing unity to all things, what do you envision? How might the truth of this verse actually make a difference in your daily life? In your family? In your workplace?

PRAYER: Gracious God, as I reflect on Ephesians 1:10, I realize that I can grasp only the tiniest part of your "mystery" revealed here. Still, I am astounded by the fact that you are bringing unity to all things through Christ. This is a mystery, indeed, a wonder to behold!

Lord, I sense brokenness and disunity in my own life. I know how much my heart is divided by sin. I think of relationships that are not what they might be. I remember tensions in my community and among my colleagues. And I think of the headlines that daily proclaim the brokenness of this world. How much we need the unity you offer! How much I need it! Amen.