Ephesians 3:6-13 – Paul clearly reveals God’s plan

July 15, 2020 at 8:38 AM Leave a comment

Paul starts chapter 3 to pray for the Gentile believer, but doesn’t get very far before he interrupts himself for a number of verses (v.2-13) before he continues again with his prayer in v.14. The second part of his “interruption” is Paul clearly reveals God’s plan to all believers. He hinted about it earlier in 2:11-22 but never called it God’s plan. He also reveals his mission to make God’s plan known.

v.6,“And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus.” God’s plan is finally revealed in detail! Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News are “joint heirs…and members of the same body, and joint partakers [sharing] in the [same divine] promise in Christ Jesus through [their faith]” AMP. Notice in the AMP, Paul uses three terms to describe God’s plan which includes Gentiles with Jews together as:

  1. “Joint heirs” of the same blessing – Gentiles that believe are joint heirs with believing Jews. Gentiles do not become Jews in order to be heirs, no they are fellow heirs with the Jews because of Christ. Jews and Gentiles are adopted into the same family, becoming brothers and sisters. Gentile are fellow heirs of salvation and share equally with the Jews (Rom 8:17, Gal 3:29, 4:7)
  2. “Members” of the same body – they are united into one body (the church) as Christ is the head. They have all the privileges and promises because they belong to Christ.
  3. “Joint partakers” of the same promise – they both partake in the same promises in Christ Jesus. In the past Gentiles could only come under this promise by becoming Jews, now Paul is telling the Gentiles believers they are fully accepted and are fellow participants of the promise with the believing Jews.

So God’s plan is the complete union of Jews and Gentiles believers together as one group—the church. And they are united in Christ Jesus because they belong to him through the Good News. It is a double union, with Christ and with each other.

v.7,“By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News.” God chose Paul to spread the Good News. Paul did not seek out this job or earn this responsibility because of any merit on his own. As a matter a fact, Paul was an enemy of Christ and persecuting Christians when God chose him. And to Paul it was a great “privilege” to have this responsibility chosen to be “spreading this Good News.” But he knew the only way to fulfill this mission was by “God’s grace and mighty power.”

v.8,“Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ.” Paul knew he was “least deserving of all God’s people” (see note above in v.7 and 1 Cor 15:9-10, 1 Tim 1:15) to have this responsibility to spread the Good News to the Gentiles. But God chose him for this tasks, to tell the Gentiles about what is available to them: “inexhaustible riches and generosity of Christ” MSG. These riches could include resurrection from the death of sin, eternity with Christ in heaven someday, reconciliation with God, same privilege of being joint heirs with Jewish believers in this new people—the church, end of hostility and the beginning of peace, access to the Father through Christ and by the Holy Spirit, etc… This is the reason Paul uses the word  “endless” or “inexhaustible.” These riches are impossible for us to fathom as human beings. We can’t grasp the greatness of these riches and the generosity of Christ in giving them.

v.9,“I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning.” God, the “Creator of all things,” chose Paul to explain His “mysterious plan” that up until now was “kept secret” to everyone. Of course, God knew the plan all along (before the creation of the world or “from the beginning”) but had kept it a secret until the appropriate time. Now Paul can tell both Gentiles and Jews of God’s plan because it has been revealed to him as his mission.

v.10-11,“God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This is his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.” We can see here that God chose not to reveal his master plan to anyone including the “unseen rulers and authorities” which is another way of saying both good and evil angels (1:21, 6:12). God wanted to “use the church” to“display his wisdom” to the angels, whether good or evil (good angels throughout history have desired to decipher God’s plan (1 Pet 1:12). And evil angels would really like to know God’s plan so they can attempt to frustrate it) “in the heavenly places.” The angels in this verse are more like spectators at a sporting event. They are not involved in the church but are watching it and being witnesses to it.God’s master plan was “carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.” The union between believing Jews and believing Gentiles into one body was accomplished by Christ’s death on the cross—which is salvation.

v.12,“Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.” The AMP says “our faith gives us sufficient courage to freely and openly approach God through Christ.” Because of Christ’s faithfulness (and our faith in him) all barriers are removed so believers are given boldness (speak freely and freely approach) and confidence to come into the presence of God. The word “approach” implies a formal introduction into the presence of a king. Thanks to Christ and his sacrifice, Christians (both believing Jews and believing Gentiles) can come confidently into God’s presence through prayer (Heb 4:16). Especially Gentiles, this was very astounding news, because in the past they were far from God. But now they were able to come into God’s presence without fear and speak openly and frankly to him, just as the Jews have in the past and can today.

v.13,“So please don’t lose heart because of my trials here. I am suffering for you, so you should feel honoured.” Paul tells the Gentile believers to not allow his trials to make them lose heart but remember his suffering is for their sake. They should be honoured he is doing this for their benefit. In other words, if Paul had not been bringing the message of the Gospel to Gentiles there would not be any Gentiles included in the church, Christ’s body of believers. And he would not be in prison. He was in prison because he knew it was part of God’s plan.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME? I am thankful that God chose all those who would believe in him (Gentiles and Jews) which includes me. I am also thankful that God chose Paul to be his missionary to the Gentiles so myself and my family would be included in the church, Christ’s body of believers. And lastly I am thankful that Paul chose to be obedient to God to spread the Gospel to the Gentiles even though it resulted in his imprisonment because the result is I heard the Gospel and believed. Thank you God and thank you Paul.

WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?  Be thankful that God chose to include me in his church, Christ’s body of believers.

Entry filed under: Journey Thru the Bible. Tags: , , , , , , , .

Ephesians 3:1-5 – Paul’s insight into God’s plan

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