II. THE INTENTION OF GOD’S ECONOMY
The intention of God’s economy is to dispense Himself into His chosen people, making Himself one with them. The Bible reveals that God dwells within His chosen people and that He desires to make Himself fully one with them.
God’s intention in His economy is also to dispense Christ with all His riches to His believers chosen by God for the constitution of the Body of Christ, the church, to express the processed Triune God (Eph. 3:8-10). This is the central line of the divine revelation.
Finally, the intention of God’s economy is to head up all things in Christ (Eph. 1:10). Today the entire universe is a mess, but when the new heaven and new earth come, everything will be headed up in Christ under His headship. In the church, Christ is heading us up so that eventually all things can be headed up in Christ in the new heaven and new earth.
III. GOD’S ECONOMY
AND THE APOSTLE’S STEWARDSHIP
In chapter three of Ephesians, Paul used the Greek word oikonomia with two denotations. First, this word refers to God’s economy. Second, it refers to the stewardship of the apostle. Eventually, God’s economy becomes the stewardship of the apostle. God’s economy was made in eternity (vv. 9-11). The apostle’s stewardship (Gk., economy) of God’s grace was given in time to carry out God’s eternal economy in grace (v. 2; 1 Cor. 9:17). The economy of God is with God Himself, but the stewardship of the apostle was not merely given to Paul as one person. The stewardship has been given to all the believers.
Paul reveals in Ephesians 3 that the economy of God was given to him as the stewardship, but as the receiver of the stewardship, he said that he was less than the least of all the saints (v. 8). If the least among the saints is qualified to receive the stewardship, all of us are qualified. Today an electrician knows more than Thomas Edison because he has inherited all the knowledge since Edison’s time. Because we are later than Paul, we have inherited everything he and others have passed on to us since his time. In this sense, we are greater than Paul because he declared that he was less than the least of all the saints. In a sense, Paul was our initiation, and we are his consummation.
The economy of God has become our stewardship to dispense the grace of God. The riches of Christ are the grace. The stewardship of grace is mentioned in 3:2, and the unsearchable riches of Christ are mentioned in verse 8, so the stewardship of grace is the ministry to distribute, to dispense, the unsearchable riches of Christ to the believers as grace for their enjoyment.
We need to get into all of these items of God’s doing in eternity past. In eternity past God was exercising His will for His purpose in which is His good pleasure and for which He had to make a counsel. Based upon this He made an eternal economy to dispense the riches of Christ into God’s chosen people, the believers, so that He could have a church, a Body, an organism for His expression. Eventually, by this dispensing, He will head up all things in Christ. For the accomplishment of His economy, God dispenses Himself into us in a fine way. God’s dispensing of Himself into us, His chosen and redeemed people, will consummate in the New Jerusalem.
(The Central Line of the Divine Revelation, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)