Isaiah 43:14-44:8; Ephesians 3:1-11; Psalms 68:7-18; Proverbs 17:12-13
NT: “For this reason, I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles… I was made a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace that was given to me by the working of his power. This grace was given to me — the least of all the saints — to proclaim to the Gentiles the incalculable riches of Christ, and to shed light for all about the administration of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things. This is so that God’s multi-faceted wisdom may now be made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavens. This is according to his eternal purpose accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Ephesians 3:1, 7-11 CSB)
Paul wrote this letter to the Ephesians while imprisoned by Rome. One of the main reasons he was imprisoned was because he continually insisted that Gentiles could be saved simply through faith in Christ. The Jews believed that only Jews could be saved – that a Gentile must first become a Jew before they could experience salvation. Paul’s message of salvation for the Gentiles so angered the Jewish leadership, that they persecuted him to the point that he was arrested and sent to Rome for trial. Because of that, Paul did not consider himself a prisoner of Rome, but a prisoner of Christ. It was because he was fulfilling the purposes of Christ that he was imprisoned.
Paul wrote about a mystery that had been revealed to him by grace. The word mystery here (mysterion in Greek) is not something that is unsolved. It is something that was hidden, but has now been revealed. The mystery that Paul referred to was the mystery of God’s will. Part of God’s will that had been hidden was that His salvation would be offered to anyone and everyone. In light of that revelation, we can look back now across the whole of scripture and see that God has always desired to save the nations – that all the world would be blessed through the covenant He made with Abraham – but until Christ came and that will was revealed through the Holy Spirit, God’s plan of salvation was a mystery.
The revelation of this mystery was given to Paul by grace. Paul didn’t unravel the mystery through his own deduction, like Sherlock Holmes solving a murder. God revealed His will to Paul – the least worthy to receive such a gift – through grace so that Paul would go and proclaim that truth to the Gentile nations of the world. Through Paul’s revelation and proclamation, the Gentiles would learn about the incalculable riches of God that were now available to them through Christ, and the light would be turned on for all (Jew and Gentile alike) to more fully understand God’s endless mercy and love.
God has chosen the Church to be the instrument through which He reveals His multi-faceted wisdom, not only to the world, but to the angelic hosts in heaven and the demonic powers on the earth. The word translated here as multi-faceted (polypoikilos) refers to a cloth or painting made up of a wide variety of colors. God’s wisdom is so vast and nuanced in so many ways that even the angels in heaven do not fully grasp what God’s plans and purposes are. But as God’s purposes get manifested and fulfilled through the Church, then the awesome perfection of God’s wisdom becomes known to all. Jews and Gentiles living fully reconciled together in peace and unity was an impossibility. But as the Church was established and the impossibility became a reality, God’s wisdom and grace was revealed to all. Just as Paul had the privilege of unveiling God’s mystery, we have the privilege of revealing God’s wisdom as God does the impossible through us by His grace. The end of racial strife is an impossibility outside of Christ. But by grace through Christ, that impossibility can become a reality in the church. Will we allow God to reveal His multi-faceted wisdom through us as we become His servants?
Prayer: Lord, there are times when I feel that I am the least of all the saints – so incapable of representing You in the way that You deserve. But You have chosen to use me to reveal Your inconceivable wisdom and amazing grace to not only the world, but the spiritual dimension as well. Because of that, I know that as I surrender myself to You as Your servant, You will work in me to will and do Your pleasure through grace. Lord, I am Your’s. Accomplish Your will through me. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.