“We ALL (Jewish And Gentile Believers) Belong To God”
1). GOD GAVE PAUL A MINISTRY TO PREACH GOD’S GRACE TO THE GENTILES. Eph 3:7 Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. (See Note 1 below)
2). THE CONTENT OF THE MESSAGE. (The unsearchable riches in Christ). 3:8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, (See Note 2 below)
3). THE PURPOSE OF THE MESSAGE.
- To make the mystery known to the Gentiles. 3:9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things,
- To enable the church to make known the wisdom of God. 3:10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. (See Note 3 below)
4). THIS PURPOSE HAS BEEN ACHIEVED IN WHAT CHRIST DID. 3:11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized “in Christ Jesus” our Lord,
5). THE RESULT OF WHAT CHRIST DID. Access. 3:12 “in whom” we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith “in him”. 13 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory. (See Note 4 below)
- Paul uses strong language in verse 7 to show his readers that his ministry was given to him by God Himself. He was “made a “minister” of the gospel. He didn’t assume that role by his own authority. How? Through the “gift of God’s grace which was given to me”. In this phrase there is an emphasis on God giving to Paul. His ministry is a “gift” where the word is the noun “dōrea” often has the connotation of being freely given. The gift comes from God’s grace “charis” referring to the fact that God chose and equipped Paul to do this ministry. (“Grace” can mean the privilege Paul received from God in being entrusted with this ministry. But grace can also mean equipping or being given strength to do something. So Paul was called to this ministry and equipped by God to fulfil it.) Even then Paul is not finished with the God-given nature of his ministry. Now he adds “which was given me by the working of his power” where “given” is “didōmi” the verb of “dōrea”. God equipped him by the working (energeia) of His power (dunamis) in Paul. Paul sees his call to ministry and his functioning as a minister all coming from the grace of God.
- Because Paul saw everything about his ministry as coming from the grace of God he had a humble view of himself. To describe himself as “the very least of all the saints” was not just false humility on his part. He wrote in 1Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Such a verse shows he recognised that his call to ministry and what he accomplished in his ministry were derived from the grace of God Himself. The content of his preaching was God’s “unsearchable riches”. “Unsearchable” is (anexichniastos) which comes from (an) = not and (exichniastos) = to explore or trace out. He meant that God’s riches are beyond any human search or exploration.
- Paul has an exalted view of the church as being the vehicle through which God’s “manifold wisdom” might be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This multi-coloured, multi-faceted, (polupoikilos) variegated, diverse wisdom of God had to be revealed. The church was God’s chosen instrument to do so.
- “Access” (prosagōgē ) is found only in 3 verses in the New Testament. In addition to its use here it is also found in 2:18, “For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father” and in Romans 5:2, Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand … . Access into the grace of God or the presence of God has been made available through what Christ accomplished through His death and resurrection. That’s why believers can come with boldness and confidence before a gracious God who has made it possible for people to approach Him in that way.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
1). In verse 8 Paul describes himself as “the very least of all the saints”. Do you think that is false modesty on his part or is he being genuine in what he says? Why do you think so?
2). In verse 8 Paul uses the term the “unsearchable riches of Christ”. What do you think are some of the things that are included in those riches?
3). In verse 12 Paul writes of Jesus, “in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him”. What does he mean, and how does this truth help us in our everyday Christian living?
Blog No.038. Jim Holbeck. Posted on Monday 22nd August 2011