It’s good to be back writing again after a brief hiatus. To catch up those of you who don’t know: I don’t live in Alabama anymore, and I’m no longer selling shoes at Dick’s Sporting Goods. God has called me to be a reporter with The Jonesboro Sun in Jonesboro, Arkansas. So far, I am loving it. Because of how hectic the move was, I haven’t been able to write much. So I’m glad to be back to share truth from God’s Word.
In chapter two, Paul dealt with how the grace of God saves the sinner and calls those who were previously separated and hostile (Jews and Gentiles) together in Christ.
Now, in chapter three, the apostle turns his attention to how and why God revealed this “mystery,” that is, the truth that God has come to save Gentile as well as Jew, to him, despite his unworthiness.
“For this reason, I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles–assuming you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”
Paul is writing to a Gentile audience (v. 1). He wants them to understand that the grace of God is for them, as well as the Jew. This is a continuation from the end of chapter two, where Paul highlights that the gospel of Christ Jesus is the gospel for ALL people who will trust in Christ and repent to follow Him.
Paul speaks of how this “mystery” was made known, not “in other generations,” most likely in reference to Old Testament Israel, but to Christ’s apostles and prophets now.
Do we grasp how big that is? We take the gospel for granted, because so many of us grew up with the gospel. We grew up hearing that Jesus died for all who will believe, and so when we hear “Jesus died for you,” we sort of shrug as if it’s like hearing the weather report.
This great mystery changes everything. You are saved, not because of your ethnicity, race, family background, social status….but because of the grace of God. This is a reinforcement of all Paul has talked about in Ephesians so far.
“Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.”
Paul understands that everything in the Christian life goes back to grace. Paul knows he is a minister of the gospel not because he’s the best minister ever, or because he went to a special seminary, but because God in His grace called Paul not only to receive Christ, but to preach Christ.
Notice what Paul says in verse 10: The reason Paul brings to light this mystery of the gospel, this truth that it is for all, regardless of background, is so that the church can make much of God’s wisdom, in such a way that the “rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” notice. Heaven is watching what the church does with this beautiful gospel. Those who have gone before us will see if we are faithful to, like Paul, “preach the unsearchable riches of Christ.”
We are called to go out with the gospel. The church is called to declare God’s wisdom, not just to people on Earth, but to the universe. What an amazing call! We declare God’s glory to the universe around us!
We do that, not by preaching to trees, of course, but by preaching the gospel to people in need of redemption. When we declare God’s glory in Christ, His creation rejoices!
Paul reminds them that in Christ, we have “boldness and access with confidence.” So when we are fearful of sharing our faith, we remember Christ. We remember that we have boldness with confidence in Him, and that He is worthy!
So let’s preach the gospel more, to all peoples. We have a global gospel for a global people for a global God!
Lord, may we share the gospel more. May we not forget that the gospel is for all people. May we trust in your grace not only to save us, but to sanctify and use us for your glory.