THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST—THE CHURCH
Being Mysteriously Chosen and Predestinated
in Christ by God the Father
before the Foundation of the World
Now let us consider the church as the mystery of Christ point by point. First, the church was mysteriously chosen and predestinated in Christ by God the Father before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:3-5). Ephesians 1:4 and 5 say that He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we should be holy, and that He predestinated us unto sonship through Jesus Christ to Himself. We were God’s creation; we were not His sons. But God chose us, predestinated us, and called us to sonship. Now through partaking of the life of God, we become the sons of God.
Being Mysteriously Redeemed in the Beloved
after the Foundation of the World
Second, after the foundation of the world, the church was mysteriously redeemed in the Beloved (Eph. 1:6-12). The Beloved here is Christ. He is the One most loved by God. Christ is God’s heart desire. All of God’s heart is set on Him. We are redeemed in such a One. We were all chosen by God in eternity. But we were redeemed in time and even at different times. Our redemption is according to the riches of God’s abounding grace with which He graced the church in the Beloved. It is also according to the dispensation of the mysterious economy in God’s will, which is according to His good pleasure. Our salvation is not just according to the riches of God’s grace, but is prearranged according to the dispensation of God’s economy. None of us was a believer when we were born. Even when we were saved, we were somewhat confused. Few were definite and assured. It was only afterwards that we became more clear. That is why Peter said that though we have not seen Him, we love Him, and while believing in Him, we exult with unspeakable and glorified joy (1 Pet. 1:8). Just by believing and loving this way, we obtain great joy. Hence, a Christian is truly a mysterious person. From the very beginning, he is a mystery.
In the dispensation of God’s economy, not only has He brought us to Himself, and caused us to believe and to be saved, but He has also headed us, the church, up together with all things under Christ the Head, that the church, according to God’s counsel and predestination, which is according to His will, may be made a chosen possession under Christ the Head to become those who have before hoped in Christ. As soon as we are saved, we are God’s predestinated possession and have become those who have before hoped in Christ. Those in the world live on earth without hope and without God. But we the saved ones are in Christ and are the first group of people who have hope.
(The Mysteries in God's New Testament Economy, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)