That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; [even] in him: ~Ephesians 1:10
The “mystery” or revealed secret in this case is the Gospel, God’s purposes and plan and method of redeeming the Gentile as well as the Jew, heading up (rather than “gathering together in one” as in the Authorized Version, or “summing up all things,” as in the Revised Version) the whole body of the redeemed under the one head, Christ (cf. ch. 6:19; Rom. 16:25, 26; Col. 1:26, 27; Eph. 3:3, 5, 6, 9, 10; II Tim. 1:10; Rom. 3:21).
The reason why God made known this mystery of His will was “His (own) good pleasure” –i.e., His kindly intention (see v. 9). The time of making known was also according to “His good pleasure.” This “good pleasure” of His own God purposed “IN HIM” (R. V.), i.e., in Christ; every thought and purpose of grace on God’s part is purposed and carried out in Jesus Christ.
The ultimate goal of this purpose was “a dispensation” (rather, “stewardship” –Christ is the Great Steward of the infinite riches of God’s grace) of the “fullness of the seasons” (see R. V. margin). There have been many preliminary and preparatory signs of God’s grace, but “the stewardship” where the fullness of His grace will be administered by Christ, and fully manifested to us, lies still in the future, and that will be “the fullness of the seasons,” and it is to that goal that God’s purpose is ever pressing on (cf. ch. 2:7, R. V.).
God’s purpose in that “stewardship” is at that time to head up in the Christ this now chaotic world (cf. v. 22): to head up in Him “all things, the things in the heavens (i.e., the elect angels, I Tim. 5:21), and the things upon the earth (i.e., all the redeemed men of every nation –other men will then have been banished from the earth—and redeemed nature, cf. Rom. 8:21), (cf. Col. 1:20).
[This was written by R.A. Torrey for his regular column, “Daily Devotional Studies in the New Testament: For Individual Meditation and Family Worship,” published regularly in Biola’s magazine The King’s Business from 1915-1918. These comments on Ephesians have never been republished since their original appearance there in the June, 1918 issue.]