Ephesians 3:1-13: The Proclamation of the Gospel
June 4, 2019
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
1 Kings 8, Psalm 119:33-40, Luke 1:67-80, Ephesians 3:1-13
When we think of the word “mystery,” we often think of something “mysterious,” perhaps a whodunit or a magic and sorcery movie or a strange ghostly apparition of some kind. But, for Paul and in the Bible generally, the word “mystery” tends to have a more precise meaning. It means “that which was hidden but is now revealed.” And in particular, it means “that which was hidden but is now revealed in Christ.” So when Paul talks about “the mystery,” he is not talking about something that Christians today do not know. He is actually talking about something that Christians today do know! It was hidden, but it has now been revealed in Christ. What is more, when Paul talks here about the “mystery” – and in the backdrop to many of his usages of the word “mystery” in his writings – it is a particular application or implication of that mystery, namely that all nations are now united in Christ. That is what is thrilling Paul in this section we are looking at today. As he puts it in verse 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.”
Now, you may ask what relevance that has to us today? Much in every way! The point that Paul is making is that in God’s now-fulfilled purpose in Christ, people of all nations – both Jew and Gentile – are now “one body.”
In other words, according to Paul, the great solution to our racial divisions, our racist sins, our racial tensions, our class and social frictions is all found in this “mystery.”
Think about that for a moment. It has stupendous implications for how we live, work, and where we invest our time and efforts.
Could it really be that the one hope for world peace between different nations is in the proclamation of the gospel?
Could it really be that the one hope for forgiveness and reconciliation between different racial groups is repentance and faith in Jesus Christ by the power of his gospel?
Could it really be that the one way we can bring about unity and peace is through a mutual submission to the Lordship of Jesus?
Yes! It is true: the mystery has been revealed. If ten world leaders today gave their lives fully and completely to the Lordship of Jesus, we would have more hope for world peace than in any other way. If churches, communities, and divided racial groups repented and trusted solely in the mystery that is revealed in Christ, we would have more hope for racial reconciliation than any other way. And what that means is that we should give our lives – our time, talent, and treasure – to the proclamation of the gospel.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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