Reflections Of His Grace”
“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
The Gracious Revelation Of His Mystery: Ephesians 3:1-13
For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.
In this section of Scripture we will be looking at God’s grace being shown to us in the form of a “mystery”. What does the word mystery mean in the context of this study? The Greek word translated “mystery” literally means “to shut the mouth”, in other words “to remain unrevealed”. We will see this mystery will be revealed to God’s people while yet remaining unrevealed to the lost world.
What is this mystery being talked about? It is the inclusion of the Gentiles as recipients of the gracious salvation of the Lord. It is the Gentiles being put on the same spiritual footing as the Jew, receiving God’s gift of repentance and faith, His forgiveness, His indwelling Spirit, His worship and His eternal inheritance, among many other gifts of grace. It involves the Gentiles being included into the institutions of the Lord (His family, His nation, and His local church).
Our study of the “mystery of Christ” will teach us two different aspects of God’s gracious intervention on our behalf:
1. We will see that, the Gentiles inclusion in the Lord’s work of salvation is an act of God’s grace,
2. but also revealing this mystery to God’s people is another aspect of this display of divine grace.
A very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I. The revelation of this mystery to Paul – 1-3a
II. The revelation of this mystery to the Ephesians (and us) – 3b-6
III. The calling of Paul to minister this mystery to others – 7-11
IV. The enabling of Paul to minister this mystery in the midst of persecutions – 12-13
Paul now tells us of the eternal plan of God that includes the revelation of God’s great mystery of redemption of His people including the Gentile acceptance into His family, nation and churches…
(Ephesians 3:11) According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
According to the eternal purpose
The revelation of God’s mystery which was to be proclaimed by His churches to mankind, was in alignment with His plan:
1. The idea of “eternal” helps us to understand that God’ purpose existed “throughout the ages”. In other words, it finds it’s beginning before creation and continues in effect into eternity future. It truly spans all the ages!
2. The idea of “purpose” is an interesting word which implies a two part action. It is translated from a word that means “to determine beforehand” and then “to set on display”.
a. God determined that He would redeem His people… Our wonderful God determined each individual whom He would redeem (His people that included both Jew and Gentile). He also determined how this would be accomplished (through the work of the Christ).
b. God then displayed this redemptive work…. Throughout the ages, God reveals this plan to man as He completes His work of redemption. From the OT sacrifices which prophetically revealed Christ and His work; to the actual work of Christ at His first coming; and the granting of salvation to each of His people; we gain a clearer understanding of God’s redemptive plan for mankind.
which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
This same plan for redemption of His people was based upon the work of Jesus on the cross. This is one reason why the entire Word of God is centered upon revealing to us this same Jesus, and His work on our behalf…
1. The Old Testament scriptures look ahead prophetically and symbolically to Christ and His work of redemption; 2. The New Testament gospels (Matt-John) record historically the life of Christ on earth, the message He gave, and the work He performed.
3. The later books of the NT (Acts-Revelation) look back at His coming and further clarify what He did for us.
The work of Jesus at His first coming is the most important historical event that has ever taken place. It is the very basis of the eternal redemptive plan of God, and therefore is the central message of the entire Word of God.
Let us all appreciate the Lord’s wondrous grace in choosing to redeem mankind, choosing to include us individually into that plan and the willingness of Christ to accomplish the work needed for the plan to be fulfilled. As we see our testimony to loved ones, friends, and acquaintances result in their coming to faith in Him, let’s always remember to be thankful to Him for …
1. including our loved ones in His purposes of redemption.
2. choosing to include our testimony in His redemptive purposes for the salvation of those around us.
3. His willingness to do the redemptive work that was necessary to save all of His people.
4. for His Word that clearly points to Our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus and the way of salvation.
May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!
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