The Eclectic Quill

Faith

People often tell me that the Bible can be interpreted in many different ways. I always find this to be a little puzzling. On the one hand I suppose that technically, it "can be" but on the other that doesn’t mean it "should be". When the writers of the Bible were writing it they didn’t intend different meanings, they only intended one. By this I don’t mean that Peter intended one thing and Paul another and James yet another, but that all the apostles, collectively, intended one thing. Amazingly enough the Bible even tells us what that one thing is. Paul, in writing to Timothy told him to, "Charge certain ones not to teach different things…which produce questions rather than God’s economy which is in faith. (1 Tim. 1:4)" It is here I’ve been helped tremendously by Witness Lee to understand what that economy is.

The word "economy" is translated differently in different translations. In some it might say "plan" or "administration" or "dispensation." However whatever the translation is, the Greek origin is what is critical. The Greek is "oikonomea " derived from two Greek words, "oikos " and "nomos". The word oikos means "household" and the word nomos means "law" or "administration." In Biblical times (and sometimes now) there was a head of a household who would have an "economy" to administrate his wealth to the various members of his household. God’s intention, and the central defining point of the Bible is His economy, or administrating of His wealth, or riches, to the many members of His household. This leads us to three questions that need to be considered. First, who is God? Second, what are His riches? And third, who are the members of His household. Finally, in sum we need to ask the question "for what?"

God is self existing and eternally existing as both three and one which is why He is what is referred to as "triune". While this is a complex subject and one which goes beyond the purpose of this entry the essential point I’d like to convey here is that in his "threeness" for lack of a better word, each of the three facets of the one God has a role. The Father is the source, the Son is the expression of the Father, and the Spirit transmits the Son to us. At the same time the Son is in the Spirit, who is the realization of the Son, and the Father is in the Son, who is the expression of the Father, so the Son is in the Spirit and the Father is in the Son. They are three, yet one. Primarily, they are one in His essence, but He is in three in carrying out His economy. Again, there’s complexity in this that’s not addressed here, it is just beyond the scope of this entry to go through it all. (Also, I’ve chosen not pepper this with references for the sake of readability. If you’d like to know what they are for any statement, just ask.) More on this will be covered in future entries though. What we need to understand for this is that God’s being triune is not just a doctrinal matter, but is His person, and His way of carrying out His economy is inextricably woven into who He is. In his economy God, the Father is source, the originator, the planner; God the Son executed that plan and lived a human life expressing the Father; and now God the Spirit brings us the Son and the Father, along with the human life that he lived. This is the God of Economy.

This also brings us to the next question of what is the wealth of God. Paul tells the Ephesians that the "riches of Christ" are the gospel which had been given to him to preach (Eph 3:8). These aren’t, as some suggest, material riches as they are the riches "of Christ." The things which Christ has are ours. This includes things like our redemption, His life (John 5:40, 10:10), His nature (2 Pet. 1:4), His human living (Gal. 2:20, Phil. 1:21), His death on the cross (Gal. 2:20, 6:14), His resurrection (Eph. 2: 6, Col. 2:12) and His ascension ( Eph. 1:20, 2:6). All the things that Christs accomplished are our riches which He has given to us because Christ is ours (1 Cor. 1:2).

Is it any wonder then that Christ when He lived on the earth likened Himself in so many ways to things which we receive into ourselves? Consider that He compared Himself to food (John 6), water (John 4 and 7) and air (John 20). Not only so He also likened Himself to a grain of wheat, which if it did not die would "abide alone" but if it did die would bear much fruit (John 12:24). His intention in His economy is that we, by receiving Him as food, water and air, in all that He is in His riches, would come to match Him in His image (Rom 8:29). In this again, there is more to say, and as this blog unfolds I’ll say more, but here the point I want to make is that Christ Himself is the riches of Christ. We don’t simply take, selectively "wisdom" from Christ here and "love" from Christ there. We don’t receive Him part and parcel; when we have Him we have Him with all His "unsearchable riches."

Now the third question has to be answered, primarily who is the "we" I keep referring to. Who are the recipients of these riches and the members of this "household?" We, the believers in Christ are the "members of the household of God (Eph 2:19)." This membership is not acquired by mere adoption but by our divine birth (John 1:13; 3:6). At the time of our salvation we were literally born of God, becoming sons of God, and members of the household of God. As members of His household we are qualified to receive the riches of the household. For me, this is just too amazing. Often, it seems that Satan will try and make us feel unworthy of our inheritance, but our worthiness is not based on our conduct, it is based on our birth. In fact, in God’s economy His main desire for us, as His sons, is not for us to "do" anything except to receive what He wants to give us. This is God’s intent in His economy, and it is how we participate in it.

Finally, there comes the question of for what purpose? The purpose of this dispensing is that God would acquire us to be his corporate Bride, the church, the New Jerusalem (Eph 5:25, Rev 21:2). Note that in Rev 21 the bride is adorned. This adornment is all the riches that have been "administrated" to her throughout all the ages. This indicates that all of God’s economy is to prepare His bride for Himself. God’s goal in His economy is to produce a bride for Himself that matches Him fully and completely expresses Him. This is the purpose of His economy and this is the starting point for any interpretation of the Bible.

God’s econmy will the be plumb line by which all the faith related posts on this blog are judged. While I’m open to discussion I jsut ask that they remain civil. I also am not interested in discussion on apologetic issues. Derogatory comments of any sort will be deleted. Thoughtful debate or conversation will be treated with respect.

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