THIS GRACE GIVEN

The word, “Grace” draws lots of attention.  It has a large varieties of meanings.  It can mean beautiful, graceful, a gift, favor bestowed on another and the provision of what is needed even when it is undeserved.  The Book of Ephesians is one of, if not the very best sources of information about God’s grace.  We tend to focus on chapter two of Ephesians when we think about grace, but the truth is grace runs all the way through Ephesians.  In Chapter three Paul described his stewardship of the mysteries of God as being a matter of grace in verses 1-2.  In verses 6-7 he describes how the Jews and Gentiles being fellow heirs and fellow members of the body and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel as an outgrowth of God’s grace.

In verse 8-10 Paul said, “To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.”  Think of this outpouring of God’s abundant grace.  By identifying himself as the very least of all saints,  Paul demonstrates how great grace really is.  Paul would later call himself the worst of all sinners when writing to Timothy as he worked as evangelist in Ephesus.  Think of the marvel of grace that can take one from least of all saints to being the great apostle Paul who spread the gospel further, wrote more letters of the New Testament, and served as one of the greatest examples of the change grace can make in a person.  Why God chose one of the most prejudiced men to ever live to become the apostle to the Gentiles that he had hated is still a mystery.  But we have to face the fact that he became the most enthusiastic advocate for the gospel being for all people and the church being open to people of every background that anyone has ever demonstrated.

God sent the chief sinner to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ.  Wherever Paul went to preach, his life preached as much as his words.  The God that could save the worst of sinners could certainly save the Gentiles sinners as well.

Paul’s mission that he had accepted was to make known the mystery that had been hidden in the mind of God Almighty for thousands of years.  While God put out signs down through the years that He was going to establish a kingdom that would be made up of people from all backgrounds, it was a message neither the Jews nor the Gentiles had been able to grasp or believe.  But this hidden mystery was now being preached to all who would listen.  This is a message that is still hard for people to believe.  We still struggle with churches being established for certain ethnic groups that exclude all who aren’t part of that group.  It is still the case that people feel fine about excluding those who are different from them.  Think of all the wars and battles that are fought in the name of God with people believing that God hates all who are different from them.

Such a message goes completely against the gospel of God and the plan of the Almighty.  Look closely again at verse 10 of Ephesians 3.  “So that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.”  It is powerful when a church goes out to teach and preach about God’s multi-colored wisdom.  But that isn’t the real point of this verse.  The real point is that when a church follows the plan of the Lord that was hidden and now is revealed, and is open to all people from all backgrounds becoming a display of what God planned for the church, they make known God’s manifold wisdom.  Notice this isn’t them preaching to people around them.  It is something that is made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places or realms.

This is a reference to the rulers and authorities among the angelic host.  It likely refers both to the authorities among the demons and those among the angels of God.  The angels of the Lord had longed to look into the mysteries that hadn’t been revealed before this time.  Now that God’s plan was actually coming into fulfillment it was clearly demonstrating how God’s plan and God’s wisdom were coming together.

Think about the fact when you gather with a church that has rich and poor, black and white, red and yellow, educated and uneducated and everything in between worshiping and serving God side by side and loving each other in the name of the Lord you are demonstrating even to the angels and demons God multi-colored wisdom.  That is amazing.

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About leoninlittlerock

Preaching minister for Central church of Christ in Little Rock. Author of over 20 books including: When a Loved one Dies, Spiritual Development, Skid Marks on the Family Drive, Challenges in the church, To Know Christ and A Drink of Living Water.
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