We are in the middle of our series on the book of Ephesians and are considering our shared life with God and others. This Sunday, our Deacon Chair, Jim Neill, will preach a sermon on Ephesians 3:14-21. To keep us from missing any verses, I hope you enjoy this commentary on Ephesians 3:1-13.
– Pastor Alex
“For this reason, I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—
Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.” – Ephesians 3:1-13
“For this reason…”
If you remember Paul’s words from last Sunday, you know that Paul has been called by God to share the good news of the gospel to the Gentiles or non-Jewish people. For Paul, the Gospel of God’s grace through Christ has made a masterpiece of the lives of all Christians and brought into a new humanity, Jews, Gentiles, and all the people of the world. Through Christ, your life matters, and so too do the lives of others. In Christ, we have become one. This is the administration of God’s grace that Paul devoted his life to proclaiming.
“…the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.”
God has been speaking to us from the very beginning. At first, God spoke through the works of his hands with the wonders creation. Then, as humanity progressed, through the law and later through his prophets. When the time was right, God was revealed in flesh to speak to us fully and directly through the life of his Son Jesus. The mysteries of God are no longer mysteries, but a daily reality made available to God’s people. Through Christ, God has brought all things in heaven and earth to himself.
“His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
God’s plan for the church is to proclaim the gospel mystery/reality to the whole world, continuing the work of bringing all things and all people together in God through Christ. Just as creation communicated God in the days of old and the nation of Israel was God’s mediators to the world through the law and the prophets, now the Church has been tasked with being the presence of God to the world.
“In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”
All of this seems too good to be true, but it isn’t. Through Christ, we have the confidence to approach God directly, knowing that he loves us and is making a masterpiece our of our lives. Through Christ, we have the confidence to use our lives as individuals and the Church to make a difference in the world. Through Christ, we have the confidence and freedom to bring people together, those near and far, into God’s presence.
Reflect on these truths today: Your life is the masterpiece God wants to use to bring people together in Christ. You have access to the fullness of God through Christ. You can be confident that God is with you and using you to accomplish his will in the world. How might you make yourself more open and available to these truths today?