God is up to something bigger than our eternal salvation. Certainly, from our individual standpoint it is hard to imagine anything bigger. To be saved from sin and given the assurance of eternal life is a truly marvelous thing. But notice the progression of Paul’s message in Ephesians 1.
In the first seven verses he paints an inviting picture of God’s saving grace toward each of us. God has “blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. 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 by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 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.”
But then Paul says this:
“…having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 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.”
Paul has moved our understanding of God’s plan beyond the earth and the human race to its cosmic impact. Not only does God save us by His grace, that grace has the larger effect of bringing about a oneness, a harmony, a unity of “all things… in heaven and which are on earth.” The revelation of God’s love in His treatment of sinners creates eternal security for the whole universe. By their revolt against God, Lucifer and one third of the angels brought painful discord to the heavenly society (Revelation 12:7-9). By the revelation of God’s character in Christ, heavenly beings see the truth about God in contrast to the deceptive misrepresentations of His character that Satan employed to launch his rebellion. But through Christ the angels and the inhabitants of other worlds are stabilized in their loyalty to God for all eternity, insuring the impossibility of a second rebellion.
Ellen White wraps clarifying language around this aspect of Christ’s achievement:
“Christ came to the world to convince men, by evidence that could not be controverted, that ‘God is love.’ This fact, so long disputed by Satan, is forever put at rest with unfallen worlds and with heavenly intelligences” (Signs of the Times, March 7, 1895).
“The angels ascribe honor and glory to Christ, for even they are not secure except by looking to the sufferings of the Son of God. It is through the efficacy of the cross that the angels of heaven are guarded from apostasy. Without the cross they would be no more secure against evil than were the angels before the fall of Satan” (Signs of the Times, December 30, 1889).
In Jesus we find both salvation for humanity and eternal security for the entire populated universe.