T H E P O W E R O F T H E C R O S S  17 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, was this grace given, to preach unto the Gentiles the un- searchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the dispensation of the mystery which for ages hath been hid in God who created all things; to the in- tent that now unto the principalities and the powers in the heavenly places might be made known through the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Ephesians 3:8–11) Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the knowl- edge of the truth which is according to godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, prom- ised before times eternal. (Titus 1:1–2) Be not ashamed therefore of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but suffer hardship with the gospel according to the power of God; who saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before times eter- nal. (2 Timothy 1:8–9) Peter wrote about how the plan of God to redeem the world from sin and death was in his mind before the foundation of the world. Paul wrote that it was God’s eternal purpose that redeemed the world from sin and death. An eternal purpose has no beginning, it has no end, it cannot be measured by time, and anything “be- fore times eternal” cannot even be imagined. The crucifixion took place about 33 AD, but the power of the cross to restore all things and to forgive all sinners was in force before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:17–21). All of the