Are You “Rooted and Established on the Foundation”?
HAVE you ever watched a large tree being buffeted by gale-force winds? The tree is subjected to immense pressure, yet it endures. Why? Because it has a strong root system anchored in the soil. We can be like that tree. When battling stormy trials in our life, we too can endure if we remain “rooted and established on the foundation.” (Eph. 3:14-17) What is that foundation?
God’s Word states that “Christ Jesus himself is the foundation cornerstone” of the Christian congregation. (Eph. 2:20; 1 Cor. 3:11) We as Christians are encouraged to “go on walking in union with him, rooted and being built up in him and being stabilized in the faith.” If we do so, we will be able to withstand all attacks made on our faith—including those that come in the form of “persuasive arguments” based on the “empty deception” of men.—Col. 2:4-8.
“The Breadth and Length and Height and Depth”
How, though, can we become “rooted” and “stabilized in the faith”? One important way to send our roots deep into the soil, so to speak, is by a diligent study of God’s inspired Word. Jehovah wants us “to grasp mentally with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth” of the truth. (Eph. 3:18) No Christian, therefore, should be content with a mere superficial understanding, being satisfied with knowing only “the elementary things” found in God’s Word. (Heb. 5:12; 6:1) On the contrary, each of us should be eager to deepen our understanding of Bible truths.—Prov. 2:1-5.
That does not mean, of course, that a large fund of knowledge is all we need in order to be “rooted and established” in the truth. After all, Satan himself knows what the Bible contains. Something more is needed. We need “to know the love of the Christ which surpasses knowledge.” (Eph. 3:19) Nevertheless, when we study because we love Jehovah and love the truth, increasing our accurate knowledge of God’s Word will strengthen our faith.—Col. 2:2.
Test Your Understanding
Right now, why not test your own understanding of a few of the vital truths found in the Bible? Doing so may encourage you to be even more diligent in personal Bible study. As an example, read the opening verses of the apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. (See the box “To the Ephesians.”) After reading these verses, ask yourself, ‘Do I understand the meaning of the phrases in that Bible passage that are italicized in the box?’ Let us consider them, one at a time.
Foreordained “Before the Founding of the World”
Paul wrote to fellow believers: “[God] foreordained us to the adoption through Jesus Christ as sons to himself.” Indeed, Jehovah determined that he would adopt some humans into his own perfect heavenly family. These adopted sons of God would rule as kings and priests with Christ. (Rom. 8:19-23; Rev. 5:9, 10) In his original challenge against Jehovah’s sovereignty, Satan implied that God’s human creation was flawed. How fitting, then, that Jehovah chose members of that same human family to have a role in eventually ridding the universe of all badness, including the source of evil, Satan the Devil! However, Jehovah did not foreordain which individual humans would be adopted as his sons. Rather, God determined that there would be a group, or class, of humans that would rule with Christ in heaven.—Rev. 14:3, 4.
What “world” did Paul mean when he wrote to fellow Christians that they, as a group, were chosen “before the founding of the world”? He was not referring to a time before God created the earth or mankind. That would violate the fundamental principle of justice. How could Adam and Eve be held accountable for their actions if God had predetermined that they would fail even before they were created? So, then, when did God determine how he would remedy the situation that was created when Adam and Eve joined Satan in his rebellion against God’s sovereignty? Jehovah did so only after our original parents rebelled but before a world of imperfect yet redeemable humankind came into existence.
“According to the Riches of His Undeserved Kindness”
Why did Paul state that the arrangements considered in the opening verses of Ephesians came about “according to the riches of [God’s] undeserved kindness”? He did that in order to emphasize that Jehovah was not obliged to redeem fallen mankind.
By nature, none of us have any merit by which we can earn redemption. However, moved by his deep love for the human family, Jehovah made special arrangements to rescue us. Considering our imperfection and sinfulness, our redemption truly is, as Paul said, an undeserved kindness.
The Sacred Secret of God’s Purpose
Initially, God did not reveal how he would remedy the damage done by Satan. It was a “sacred secret.” (Eph. 3:4, 5) Later, with the establishment of the Christian congregation, Jehovah revealed details of how he would accomplish his original purpose for mankind and the earth. “At the full limit of the appointed times,” explained Paul, God put into operation “an administration,” a system of administering matters that will lead to the unification of all his intelligent creatures.
The first stage of that unification began at Pentecost 33 C.E. when Jehovah started to gather those who would rule with Christ in heaven. (Acts 1:13-15; 2:1-4) The second stage would be the gathering together of those who will live on a paradise earth under Christ’s Messianic Kingdom. (Rev. 7:14-17; 21:1-5) The term “administration” does not refer to the Messianic Kingdom, since that Kingdom was not established until 1914. Rather, the term refers to God’s handling, or managing, of affairs so as to accomplish his purpose of restoring universal unity.
Be “Full-Grown in Powers of Understanding”
No doubt, good personal study habits will help you to grasp fully “the breadth and length and height and depth” of the truth. However, there can also be no doubt that man’s current hurried lifestyle makes it easy for Satan to weaken—if not destroy—such habits. Do not allow him to do that to you. Use the “intellectual capacity” that God has given you to become “full-grown in powers of understanding.” (1 John 5:20; 1 Cor. 14:20) Make sure that you understand why you believe what you believe and that you can always give “a reason for the hope in you.”—1 Pet. 3:15.
Imagine that you were present in Ephesus when Paul’s letter was first read. Would his words not have moved you to want to grow “in the accurate knowledge of the Son of God”? (Eph. 4:13, 14) Surely! Therefore, let Paul’s inspired words move you in the same way today. Having a deep love for Jehovah and an accurate knowledge of his Word will help you to remain firmly “rooted and established on the foundation” of Christ. In that way, you will be able to endure during any storm that Satan may yet stir up against you before the complete end of this wicked world arrives.—Ps. 1:1-3; Jer. 17:7, 8.
[Box/Picture on page 27]
“To the Ephesians”
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for he has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in union with Christ, just as he chose us in union with him before the founding of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love. For he foreordained us to the adoption through Jesus Christ as sons to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, in praise of his glorious undeserved kindness which he kindly conferred upon us by means of his loved one. By means of him we have the release by ransom through the blood of that one, yes, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his undeserved kindness. This he caused to abound toward us in all wisdom and good sense, in that he made known to us the sacred secret of his will. It is according to his good pleasure which he purposed in himself for an administration at the full limit of the appointed times, namely, to gather all things together again in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth.”—Eph. 1:3-10.