TODAY’S READING: Ephesians 3:1-6
“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.” EPH 3:6 (NIV)
Do you ever start a sentence and then interrupt yourself? My wife does it all the time, especially when she is giving directions,
“You turn right at the white farmhouse and then carry on to the end of that road. Did you know they are talking about clearing that wasteland and putting in a duck pond and play area? Wouldn’t that be amazing for the community?!” Then a few minutes later, “Oh and turn left at the give-way sign”.
Chapter three of Ephesians is a bit like that. Paul opens with, “For this reason” and we would expect the next words to be a response to all the amazing truth he has shared with us in this letter so far but from verses 2-13, he interrupts himself to share an exciting mystery which God revealed to him. A mystery that he has already touched on in chapter two and we don’t hear the end of his sentence until verse 14! What a great interruption! Five times in this letter, Paul talks about ‘mystery’ and three of those occasions are found in this short chapter.
Part of the mystery involves God’s plan for the gentile believers. Paul reminds the Ephesians that he is a prisoner of Christ – yes, he is physically imprisoned, but he is also willingly enslaved to Christ – for the sake of the gentile believers. God has revealed to Paul the all-inclusive nature of the gospel. We have already seen in chapter two verse 13, “now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ” and now in this passage, he goes further. Not only can those far-off come near to God, but they can have equal share in His inheritance; equal membership in the body of Christ and become equal participants in God’s promises.
There are no second-class citizens in God’s family. Part of the great mystery God revealed to Paul was that anyone could know God through faith in Christ! The gospel was not restricted to the Jews who had been the chosen ones; God has extended His grace to everyone including you and me and not just as an after-thought but as part of God’s eternal plan!
What does this mean for us?
- All are invited. No-one is outside of God’s reach. No one is too far gone. Whoever you are, whatever your past, God invites you to be his child, to receive his grace and forgiveness through faith in Jesus.
- All are members of the body of Christ. All believers have a role to play, no one is less important or less needed - YOU are an essential part of the body!
- All share the benefits. There are over 3000 promises in the bible. They aren’t just for the pastors or particularly ‘good’ Christians. They are for YOU!! Eternal life awaits every follower of Jesus – we all share that inheritance. No one will be at the back of the queue!
• Read Ephesians 3:1-6
• Thank God that you have been welcomed into his family.
• Paul knew his part in God’s mysterious plan (v8). What part can you play?