Read: Ephesians 1:3-10

. . . as a plan for the fullness of time. (v. 10)

When Paul in Ephesians 1 climaxes his words about all the spiritual blessings we receive through Christ Jesus, he says that it is all possible because God made known the mystery of salvation in “the fullness of time.” We often hear that phrase referring to Jesus’ birth (Gal. 4:4). But what does it mean?

Often we understand this in historical terms. The timing was just right because the Romans had built great networks of roads, and so the apostles were able to travel more easily. At the same time the Jewish people had for so long been under foreign rule (first Babylon, then Persia, then Alexander the Great, then the Romans) that they were hungry for the Messiah to arrive. The Greco-Roman culture also meant that the known world had a common language by which the gospel could be preached. All true perhaps. But God had a hidden strategy too.

Chess experts claim that in one of his earliest matches, the chess wizard Bobby Fischer made a move quite early in the game. The game would continue for a bit but once Fisher moved that one piece, checkmate became inevitable.

So also for God in the spiritual realm: God had been carefully moving his pieces for eons, and now God knew that the time had come. So God moved his key piece and once God sent Jesus at the proper time, God’s checkmate on evil was inevitable. True, the kingdom has not yet fully come. But it will. The time was full. Checkmate. —Scott Hoezee

As you pray, give God glory for his perfect timing.

About the Author

Scott Hoezee

Scott Hoezee is an ordained pastor in the Christian Reformed Church of North America. He served two Michigan congregations from 1990-2005 and since 2005 has been a faculty member at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he serves chiefly as the Director of The Center for Excellence in Preaching. He is the author of several books, including most recently Why We Listen to Sermons (Calvin Press 2019) and is the co-host of the “Groundwork” radio program.