[Morning Walk] The Mystery Revealed: Ephesians 3

by Bethany

Today’s Readings: Proverbs 10, Ephesians 3

Mystery’s Thrill

As Law & Order enters its 20th season, it’s set to become the longest running primetime drama. Usually based on a real case, each episode includes an investigation and a prosecution. Although clues are given throughout the investigation, they only make sense after the perpetrator is caught.

Hindsight’s Vision

Paul writes that the “mystery of Christ” – namely, that “the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” – was “not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit” (Ephesians 3:4-6). Yet, like Law & Order, there are clues throughout the Old Testament that God planned to save the world, not just the Israelites.

  • Evidence in the Law. God loved and provided for the Gentiles [1]. In giving the law to Israel, He wanted to get the world’s attention [2]. He instructed them to love foreigners [3], to care for immigrants [4], by treating them equally [5] and not oppressing them [6]. He allowed Gentiles to become His people and participate in Passover as followers of God [7].
  • Evidence in the Narratives. Old Testament believers were justified by faith, not by works or lineage [8]. He sent messengers to Gentiles [9]. Four Gentile women are in the Messianic line (Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba) [10].
  • Evidence in the Psalms. The Psalms speak of God being for all nations [12] to be saved [13] and to worship [14].
  • Evidence in the Prophets. The prophet Isaiah is explicit [15]. He spoke, “I will also make you [Israel] a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth …” [16].

So What

For first century Gentile Christians, it was important to know that God had an “eternal purpose” to save them in Christ according to His “manifold wisdom.” After all, from their perspective, Christianity was a Jewish religion – God chose Israel, Jews wrote the entire Bible (except Luke), and Jesus and His disciples were Jewish. Knowing God’s plan, however, they could be bold before the Father, from whom “every family” is named.

Let us never forget that, if God could have a plan of salvation in Christ for all, He is able “to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (v. 20). Thus, let us have “confidence through our faith in him” (v. 12).

[1] Deut. 10:18 [2] Deut. 4:6 [3] Lev. 19:33-34; Deut. 10:19 [4] (Deut. 24:19-22 [5] (Num. 15:15-16; Lev. 24:22 [6] Ex. 23:9; Deut. 24:14-15, 17-18, 27:19 [7] Jer. 12:16; Ex. 12:48-49 [8] Heb. 11 [9] Jonah [10] Matt. 1:5-6; Luke 3:31-32 [12] Ps. 47:8-9; Ps. 99:2 [13] Ps. 98:3; 67 [14] Ps. 86:9 [15] Is. 42:6; 52:10; 56:7; 66:19 [16] 49:6

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