THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST

Scripture Reading:  Ephesians 3:1-13

“When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not make known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.  This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” (Ephesians 3:4-6)

In the opening words of the Epistle to the Ephesians, Paul alluded to a mystery that had only recently been revealed by God.  In a broad sense this mystery is God’s plan to unite all things in Christ — “making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which He set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him things in heaven and things on earth” (1:9,10).  In Colossians Paul writes, “And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17).  All things are united in Christ because Christ holds all things together under His Lordship and the day is coming when Christ returns to establish new heavens and a new earth in which things will be fully united in Him.

Now in chapter 3, Paul gets more specific about the mystery of Christ:  “This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (v. 6).  The former generations did not understand this; but God had chosen Paul to preach the message to both Jews and Gentiles.

For centuries God was basically the God of the Jews.  Other than a few exceptions, the vast majority of God’s people were of Jewish descent.  The Gentiles “were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (2:12).

It wasn’t until after Jesus had completed His work and the Holy Spirit had been poured out at Pentecost that God revealed the mystery of Christ — that Gentiles would now be brought into God’s covenant community.  And Paul was given the great privilege of revealing this mystery by preaching Christ to both Jews and Gentiles.

What does this mean practically?  The gospel message is to be preached to all humankind, regardless of nationality, race, socio-economic background, or language.  There are no barriers, no walls of hostility because Christ has broken them down (2:14).  The free offer of the gospel is to be proclaimed boldly to all.

Lord Jesus Christ, You are Lord of all!  I pray that the message of the gospel will be proclaimed to all the nations.  And I pray that You will use me as Your instrument of grace to share the good news of the gospel to those I come in contact with.  I know there are no barriers, for You have broken them down.  Give me boldness and clarity as I share Christ with others.

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