Just what was the mystery of Christ? The Old Testament writers were aware of it and referred to it again and again. What they didn’t realize was that the old theocracy was going to be abolished. In its place the body of Christ would be established and in this body the Gentiles and Jews would be on equal footing before God.
It is particularly profound that Paul, once Saul, a violent persecutor of the church and then made an apostle post-conversion to Christianity, should teach us this lesson. In Ephesian chapter 3 we see Paul call himself “less than the least” of the saints. He also speaks of the riches of God, and calls these riches, the mysteries and unfathomable things, unsearchable, or better put, untraceable. All of these riches stemming from Christ that Paul refers to, we could never comprehend unless God had revealed it Himself.
First the Jew, then the Gentile
Paul preached this first to the Jews, then to the Gentiles. This great mystery was hidden in the mind of God since creation. The verbiage Paul uses is lost on us today, but the early church would have made his connection to the pagan mystery religions. They claimed that secrets of the gods could only be revealed to the privileged few. In contrast, Paul states that his challenge is to tell all people. Of course, all men would not take advantage of the gospel, but the preaching of it would place the unsearchable riches before them to hear and see
This is significant, and chapter 3 verse 10 tells us why. In the Bible, it is always “now.” So, “now” was then, and “now” is now, too. Right now, then, the “manifold wisdom of God” is being made known to the invisible creation, to the angels and the rulers in high places.
How is this possible?
You and I are the answer to that. The angels and rulers are constantly observing us. They have been witnessing God’s unsearchable plan since its inception. They saw the great divide between Jew and Gentile; they saw the great union and reconciliation of Jew and Gentile to God, too, as well as to each other. This was only made possible through the cross of Christ. What does the Bible tell us about the cross? It is a stumbling block to the Jew and it is foolishness to the Gentile.
Angels Watch and Learn
But to us who believe, it manifests the manifold wisdom of Almighty God. For this reason, we should not think it unimaginable that angels and rulers can learn the heart of God by watching the church. The Bible tells us they are curious about redemption through Christ, adore Him, and are sent out to minister to us who will inherit salvation!
To me, this is amazing!
This plan, once hidden, this mystery, is now revealed. This plan is God’s intent to save humanity. We, the church, are to live this out and be witnesses of this truth. Paul goes on to teach us that even through things like his suffering God can be glorified. Paul was persecuted greatly because of his line of work as a missionary and an evangelist by both the Jew and the Gentile. Paul spent a total of three years in Ephesus, and because of this, the Word prospered and was taken all across the known world by those who came to the great port city for trade.
Bowing to Christ
There are many positions we can take for prayer. The position we render will express the condition of our heart. If we are lowly in spirit, or have great concerns to offload, we will bow and kneel. If we want to praise God, we stand and lift our hands high.
When we recognize the great mystery, once our eyes have been open, we will take one position, followed by the other.
The Household of God
Once we position our hearts and our bodies, Ephesians 3:14 tells us who our family is. Our family consists of angels and rulers, the saints alive on earth, along with some of those who have passed from earth. Did you know that when we praise God, His Son, and His Spirit, the whole realm of heaven joins us? And it is actually our inner man who is made alive in and through Christ.
The connecting thread here is faith.
Paul symbolizes this in two ways. One is a symbolism of nature, and one of structure. Paul first brings us an image of a plant, telling us to be rooted in love. For a plant to thrive, it must have healthy roots. Paul then tells us to be grounded in love. This ground is the foundation of a building. And the foundation must be love, or the building doesn’t stand. Once the roots begin to grow, they establish. Once the foundation is laid, the rest of the structure can be erected. This is love. As we grow in it, as it expands, reaching the Father, the Son, the Spirit, it passes over to brothers in the Lord, then to our neighbors, and then, remarkably, to our enemies.
This love and faith grant us peace that we cannot explain, but others will surely see it, and it surpasses any intellectual knowledge of Him we have.
A Dynamic Finish
Paul’s prayer is bringing Ephesians chapter 3 to a close. It was not just written to the church in Ephesus, but to Christians in Asia Minor, and for us today, as well. It benefits saints all around the world. One thing we all have in common is that God wants us be have His fullness. That is, every blessing He has set aside for us, all of His grace, and every mercy. It is this fullness that completes us in Him. In our very existence, saints have a body, a mind and a spirit.
If you remember nothing else today, remember that “God can do much more than we ask or even think.” God’s power has no limits. His Grace is undeniable.
Written by Jori Sams
Jori Sams is a Christian author and freelance writer with nearly 2000 published pieces on the Internet, with over 1500 being published by Yahoo. Her books are published through Writeious Books. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her following the sun…