The following is from my booklet, “The Consummation of All Things in Christ”
In the opening chapter of Ephesians, Paul presents Christ in a rather cosmic aspect. We are dealing, in these verses, with One who existed before creation, who encompasses every spiritual blessing, in whom God brought all times, places, and realms to their ultimate consummation. Is such a view of Christ relevant? Does Jesus in this aspect have anything to do with our day to day goings on?
It is our tendency to expect that God make Himself relevant to us. By presenting Christ in such a cosmic way, Paul challenges us to make ourselves relevant to God. That Christ is the beginning and the end must touch our hearts at a deep level or we will never feel compelled, as Paul was, to give our lives for Him who died for us and rose again (2 Cor. 5:14, 15). God will never be relevant to us until we realize that there is no relevance outside of Him.
The Consummation of All Things
The center of chapter one is verses 9 and 10:
“He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He was planning in Christ for the administration of the fullness of times: to consummate all things in heaven and earth in one head, Christ.”
These verses are concerned with the fulfillment of all that is heavenly, of all that existed before creation, of every spiritual blessing. We can see that Christ was this fulfillment, that God’s will and good pleasure were planned in Him. Yet there are two phrases which, at first glance, seem obscure. The first is, “the administration of the fullness of times,” and the second is, “to consummate all things.” Again, with Paul’s use of words like “fullness” and “all things,” we might think these are ideas too large to understand and simply pass over them. But the Bible is its own best interpreter, and there are other scriptures that have something to say about these phrases.
We first need to locate the fullness of times. Galatians 4:4 says, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent His Son, born of woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.” Again, Hebrews 9:26 reads, “But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.” From these scriptures we can see that the fullness of time came at the cross. And the cross was the administration—that which governed, organized, and defined the fullness of time. Peter says as much in Acts: “This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross” (Acts 2:23). We can see administration in the fact that God purposed the cross and orchestrated its occurrence at the time of His choosing.
This brings us to the second phrase: “to consummate all things in heaven and in earth in one head, Christ.” Now the word “consummate” carries the connotation of coming together, uniting, and even marriage. In Christ we have a marriage, a union of things heavenly and things earthly. How did God effect this marriage? Colossians 1:19, 20 says, “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” So the administration of the fullness of times was this consummation of all things in Christ, and the cross was the instrument of that consummation.