God’s Economy (2)
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1.17
God has begun to establish His economy within the field of the world – His “household,” His way of doing things, His administration for reconciling all things on earth and in heaven. The world may appear to us to be irreversibly overrun with secularism, materialism, and narcissism, but this is only because we fail to see the ongoing work God is doing, in and through His Church, to prepare the world for a harvest of glory.
Through the work of our Lord Jesus Christ, God is pursuing a plan to restore all things to Himself, so that His original very good (Gen. 1.31) purposes might be realized. And He is unfolding and establishing this plan, this economy, through the work of those who have come to know Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. The followers of Jesus Christ have been given a stewardship – an economy – by means of which we are to affect everything and everyone with the nature, purpose, and power of the Kingdom and righteousness of God.
But what does that mean? How should we as Christians expect our lives to impact the world around us for the purpose of the divine economy? Our unbelieving, under-the-sun age abounds in idols, all designed to serve the god of self and happiness; and everywhere we turn, people seem blind to and even scornful of the truth of the Gospel. How does God’s economy proceed in the face of such an antithetical worldview?
A new order
As God works in and through each believer, and all the work we’ve been given to do, a new order of the ages comes into existence, beginning with and radiating from each individual, that demonstrates both the power of the Gospel to make all things new, and of the Word and Spirit of God to turn the world rightside-up for His goodness and glory.
While the divine economy is too glorious and beautiful to describe in a short space, we can mention at least three aspects of that economy which, as we are mindful of them, and as we pursue them in all our works, can make it possible for God’s economy more and more to prevail on earth.
What then are these three aspects?
First, the divine economy comes to expression from the unseen world to the world of things we can see. To understand, therefore, what the shape of the divine economy should look like in any context, Christians need to be well-versed in the landscape of unseen things, as that is revealed to us in the Scriptures. After all, our constant prayer is that the Kingdom of God might come on earth, in the field of the world, as it is in heaven.
Yeah, right away we got problems.
The unseen world exists all around us. It is the dwelling-place of Christ, Who is seated at the right hand of God. He is served by myriads of angels, celebrated by unnumbered departed saints, and, with the Father, dispatches His Spirit to make us willing and able to do the work of the divine economy. From that unseen realm Christ is building His Church, advancing His rule, and putting all His enemies under His feet.
Though it is terra incognita for most believers, that unseen realm is filled with patterns of beauty, embodiments of truth, and exemplars of goodness from which we must draw as we work to bring the economy of heaven to reality on earth. If we’re ever going to make progress in the divine economy, we need to become better acquainted with that realm from which it derives and flows.
Second, the norms and standards of the divine economy are unchanging and unalterable. God’s declared intentions – His Law and promises – remain the same for all times, and provide the motivation, vision, and protocols for all who take up the work of the divine economy. Certainly applications of God’s standards will be adjusted from time to time and place to place, but the standards do not change, and they must not be neglected or altered to suit our temporal convenience.
Third, the divine economy is unfailing and unyielding. It is moving forward, developing and advancing, expanding to take more and more the cosmos into its purview and power, and to bring forth fruit for the harvest, and nothing can withstand its progress or divert its course.
And either we are moving and advancing with God’s economy and plan, or it is leaving us behind, and at the mercy of the tares of the world.
God does not change, His purposes do not change, and His determination to expand His economy into all the vast cosmos will not be set aside by the puny plans of mendacious men or the neglect of faithless saints.
Make no mistake about it: It is the economy – the divine economy. They are stupid indeed who ignore the reality of this new order, fail to take up their place in it, or foolishly consider that, somehow, they might be able to resist or withstand it.
1. Why is it important for us to understand as much as possible about the unseen realm? Where in Scripture can we look to begin learning more about this?
2. God’s economy – His new order for the ages – unfolds in and through the lives of His faithful people. What does this require of you as you pursue the work He has given you to do each day?
3. What is your vision for the coming of God’s economy in your Personal Mission Field? How do you see the goodness and glory of God abounding there?
Next steps – Preparation: How familiar are you with that unseen realm from which the divine economy flows? How might you begin to feel more “at home” in the unseen things of Christ?
T. M. Moore
For a complete study of the unseen realm, order our study guide, The Landscape of Unseen Things (click here).
For a more developed view of the Kingdom, and of the Gospel of the Kingdom, order a copy of our book The Kingdom Turn (click here) or The Gospel of the Kingdom (click here). You can download a free PDF of Vocational Disciplines, a complement to this week’s study (click here).
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.