Scripture Reading: Eph. 3:11, 9; John 3:26-30; 2 Cor. 5:1

The church is a great subject in the Bible. In this article, we will be able to see only some practical principles concerning the church without getting into many details.

First, the church is something of God’s eternal plan, His eternal purpose. It is something planned by God in His eternal plan, something purposed by God in eternity and for eternity. Ephesians 3:10-11 gives us the scriptural ground to speak of the church as something of God’s eternal purpose. Verse 11 says, “According to the eternal purpose which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The Greek word for purpose means “plan.” God has purposed a purpose, He planned a plan, and this purpose, this plan, is called the eternal purpose. In eternity past, before the foundation of this world, before the heavens, the earth, and all things were created, God made such a purpose for something in the future, in eternity to come. Therefore, it is called the purpose of eternity, the eternal purpose. Moreover, many passages in the New Testament tell us that this purpose was purposed not only in Christ but also for Christ.

Now we must ask what this purpose is. Verse 10 says, “In order that now to the rulers and authorities in the heavenlies the multifarious wisdom of God might be made known through the church.” The eternal purpose of God is that He would have a church. In the whole universe only the church is the subject, the center, and the content of God’s eternal plan. This should make us very clear that our being saved to be the members of the church is something not only for this present age; it is something purposed, planned, long before the foundation of this world.

In eternity past and for eternity to come, God planned and purposed to have a church in Christ and for Christ. Therefore, the church is not a temporary matter but an eternal matter. The church is in this age and throughout this age, yet it is from eternity past and for eternity future. It is an eternal matter in the eternal purpose of God, and it is the center, the subject, of God’s eternal plan. God planned in eternity past to have a church, and God expects to have the church in eternity to come.

#Writings of Watchman Nee