Revealing the Great Mystery
“2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 8 Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.” Ephesians 3:2-13 NIV
Paul knows that in order for God’s grace to be properly applied, it must be properly understood. As a result, he takes the following verses to help unravel the “mystery made known to me by revelation.”
As we move to Ephesians 3:2-6, we begin to see the strategy of God’s grace. The term used in the NIV is “administration.” Other versions call it the “dispensation” of God’s grace.
The terms “administration” or “dispensation” refers to an “implemented strategy” given to Paul for the Gentiles. We now begin to see the implemented strategy of God’s grace beginning to unfold. This, according to Paul, was a mystery of Christ which had now been revealed by God’s apostles and prophets.
The mystery was that through the Gospel, the Gentiles (non-Jews) were able to become heirs together with Israel, and become part of one body, sharing in the inheritance of Christ. The inheritance in Christ was no longer exclusive to the believing Jewish person. Gentiles could now come before God in a standing they could only dream of before. The Gospel was an invitation to ALL peoples to share in a special relationship with God! It wasn’t because they were now more deserving, or better. It was simply that God’s grace was far bigger than anyone ever thought!
In Ephesians 3:2-6, we see the mystery made known to Paul by revelation, not by idea.
Here’s an important application from these passages.
When God reveals something to the church, it is important to notice what vessel He used? Did He speak through the pillar of cloud or the pillar of fire? No. Did God speak through the coming of an angel? God chose to speak through His people.
Lord Jesus, thank You that I am a part of the Gentiles being given the inheritance of Christ. Thank You for speaking through Your people, to Your people. In Jesus’ name, amen.