One passage to which God awoke me a few months back is found in the short by powerful letter of Ephesians. This little epistle, written near the end of Paul’s life, is packed with so much from the first verse until the last verse. It makes for one of my more favourite sections of Scripture.
The specific passage I am stirred about is found embedded in chapter 3. Within this section of the letter, Paul takes time to explain his specific ministry to the Gentiles, or the importance behind it. He had been given an amazing stewardship of God’s grace, which was to make known the mystery of Christ, or the mystery of the gospel. Actually, this mystery is referred four times in vs2-9.
The mystery of Christ was 1) made known by revelation, 2) it had not been made fully known in previous generations, and 3) it was now being revealed to the apostles and prophets of the new covenant.
And the revelation of that mystery was that the Gentiles were fellow heirs, members of the same body, partakers of the promises in Christ through the gospel. What fantastic news for planet earth! That, in Christ, we can become heirs, joined to the one body, and become partakers of the promises that are found in Christ. This isn’t just religious mumbo-jumbo, but a rich inheritance that we now have in Christ!
Paul goes on to share that he was made a minister (or servant) of this good news via the gift of God’s grace, given by God’s power, and he was to proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ, continuing to bring light (or unveiling that revelation he has received) about the mystery that had been hidden for ages.
A fantastic ministry of which we all reap the benefits to this day!
But here is the passage that stirs me quite deeply. It’s found in vs10-11:
10so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realised in Christ Jesus our Lord
Did you catch that?! Maybe read it again slowly.
The manifold wisdom of God is going to be made known to the rulers and authorities in heavenly places. But through whom?
The church – The ekklesia. The body of Christ. The people of God.
That is outstanding news! That God would display and reveal His wisdom via His church.
I know we look around and think, ‘Huh? What?’ We believe we don’t see it. We believe this can’t be true.
But the thing is, this is true. This is connected to the revelation Paul is bringing and part of that revelation is not only that the Gentiles get to be included in this body, this ekklesia, but that this ekklesia, this church, is the main vehicle of displaying God’s wisdom. And our call is not only to display it to ourselves or humanity (thought that is also true), but to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This is a far-reaching ministry we have.
Not only that, but Paul says this was God’s eternal purpose, but only now is it [fully] realised in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This was his plan from the beginning, or from eternity. This is why I am convinced that the ekklesia is true Israel and true Israel is the ekklesia. There is one body, one people in Christ – believing Jew and Gentile. And that was God’s eternal purpose from the beginning. And it would be through this one new humanity (see Ephesians 2:12-22) that God would display the glory of His manifold wisdom.
What do you do with these two verses?
Hope is stirred. Prophetic vision is stirred. Faith is stirred. Agape is stirred. This stirs deep inside to the greater thing that God is doing in this world, including the unseen realm.
Let us take up this charge, this exhortation, this reminder of Paul. Let us align our lives with the eternal purpose of God.