What is the Full Counsel of God?

Of late, I have been pondering the meaning and significance of the full counsel of God that many allude to when discussing or deliberating on the primary mission and message of churches.  Would those who postulate this know for certainty?  I searched, and the closest was from John Piper (still incomplete, in my opinion) The scant reference in Acts 20 can be rather vague and hard to pin down.  It was an issue I had to settle for myself.  And then the impression came, Jesus would have definitely revealed the full counsel of God.  But did He do so during His 3 years of teaching ministry?  It was a daunting task, as His ministry, messages and manifestations of power and authority in towns and shores of Judea and Galilee, and in Jerusalem do not hint of a coherent full central counsel or plan and purpose for His kingdom!

But what about His teachings after His death, in the short span of 40 days?  Like Paul, I pray that the Lord will open my heart and mind by giving me a spirit of wisdom and revelation – to know Him (Eph 1:17-21)

 

Luke 24 13 Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15 So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him.

17 And He said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?”

18 Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?”

19 And He said to them, “What things?”

So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. 21 But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. 22 Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. 23 When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. 24 And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see.”

25 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

28 Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther. 29 But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went in to stay with them.

30 Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.

 

Cleopas and his companion were deep in discussion about the One who died. (some suggest that the companion was his wife – man and woman – a pattern of Adam and Eve  – whose eyes were also opened to see and know and choose the new creation in the True Tree of Life). They thought they knew the One whom they were talking about, and even asked Jesus – “Huh, everyone knows what happened, are you the only one who is ignorant?”

18 “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?”

19 And He said to them, “What things?”

So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. 21 But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. 22 Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. 23 When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. 24 And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see.”

 

So Cleopas and wife appear to know about Jesus, His Words, His Works, His Death, and even His Resurrection!  No no, they did not and could not recognize or know Him (v16)

25 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

 

With their natural spirit and sight, they could not accept, appreciate or adore Jesus. So Jesus in this short passing encounter, unveiled Himself from the scriptures, beginning with Moses, and all the Prophets; and their spiritual eyes were opened and they knew Him.  Jesus had to chide them for their ignorance of the scriptures and the slowness of heart to believe (for faith comes from hearing the Word of Christ – Rom 10:17).

At Emmaus, Jesus only had time to unveil the books of Moses and the Prophets – and that was sufficient at that moment to open their spiritual eyes of faith to know Him.  But it would get better.  When He met the rest, He continued where he left off and opened their minds to understand and believe the whole counsel in Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms (writings)

 

44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations

 

So I believe that the teachings and clarifications and exposition of Jesus after His resurrection give us a clue to the central focus and the core foundation of God’s plan, purpose and program – for the very reason the scriptures are “written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations …”.

The central focus and the core foundation of God’s plan, purpose and program is Jesus, Who came Grace upon Grace so that men may repent, and be forgiven of their sins.  It’s all about Jesus and His message and His mission.

 IT IS THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL OF GRACE!   Romans 1:16,17

IT IS THE INDICATIVES and INHERITANCE OF our LIFE AND LEGACY IN CHRIST!

Acts 10:43

So Paul told the Ephesian elders in Acts 20

26 “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all , 27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.”

 

He only spent 3 years with the Ephesian believers.  He would not be guilty if he could not complete instructions for the Levitical feasts and festivals, or the wanderings and wars of the Davidic and Divided kings, or the poetry and prose of the writings.  But Paul would not be innocent of the blood of all if he did not preach Christ and His redemptive plan, purpose and program as typified in all the scriptures, from Genesis to Malachi, and from the accounts of those who were with Jesus, and from what Jesus taught him personally!

Ezekiel 33:6-9  – not innocent of blood!

Paul told the Colossians

 

“I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.”

 

Ephesians 1

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons  to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His willby Jesus Christ to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

Matthew 21:42; 26:56;

Mark 14:49b

John 5:

… the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. 39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.

 

 

#Emphasis in bold in scriptural passages is by this blogger

 

P/S  added on 11th Jan 2017  –  a fresh post “What is the Full Counsel of God – revisited” which refers to J.D. Greear’s article on 10 Jan 2017 on “Every Book of the Bible Is About Jesus”  http://www.jdgreear.com/my_weblog/2017/01/jesus-from-genesis-to-revelation.html#more-20149

 

 

 

 

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One thought on “What is the Full Counsel of God?

  1. Pingback: What Is the Full Counsel of God – revisited | New Creation Church - transiting through ...

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