When General George Marshall, Secretary of State in the Truman Administration gave the commencement address at Harvard University on June 5, 1947, he said, “It is logical that the United States should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of economic health in the world, without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace.”
Europe at that time was, in Winston Churchill’s words, “A rubble heap, a charnel house, a breeding ground for pestilence and hate.” It was clear to Truman, Churchill, and Marshall that unless America became involved in the restoration of Europe, World War III was not far from taking place. So the Marshall Plan, to invest twelve and a half billion dollars in the shattered states of Europe, of both friend and foe, was born. There had never been a plan like the Marshall Plan.
With one exception! Paul talked about “the wisdom and scope of God’s plan” (Eph. 3:14). This “unchanging plan” was born “long ago, even before he made the world.” This plan was about God establishing “his own family,” which “gave him great pleasure” (1:4-5). “It is a plan centered on Christ….And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ–everything in Heaven and earth” (1:9-10). So before the creation of the world God was busy planning that the world, which would eventually turn against him, should be brought back under his gracious, sovereign control through the activity of Christ in time and space.
But there is more. The church would play a significant role in the plan, too. For it is “his body” (1:23), through which (as is the case in all bodies) the wishes and promptings of “the head” will come to pass. This church, an integral part of God’s plan, would be made up of the most unlikely material–those who formerly “were dead…full of sin, obeying Satan….following the passions and desires of our evil nature” and “under God’s anger” (2:1-3). Not only that, Christ also would reconcile traditional enemies to God and each other “by means of his death” (2:16), and they would become the church!
So God has a plan, an eternal plan, born before the world began, centered in Christ and his church, which is made up of redeemed sinners! No wonder Paul marveled at “the wisdom and scope” of it all! God has a plan–and we are a part of it!