A Beautiful Mystery
Read This Week: Ephesians 3
Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ. 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. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. He intended that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Ephesians 3:2-11 NIV
Mystery embodies the core of the human experience. We relate to and are drawn toward the mysterious at the moment we take our first breath until the day we take our last. It is part of who we are, what we sense, and how we think and interact. We are designed to be driven by what we can’t see.
This wonder brings vitality to our existence. Mystery makes us feel alive and takes us to the edge of our seat. If there was no mystery, we would be people without dreams, vision, and imagination. We would lack the desire to understand what we can’t comprehend. The drama of our plot would be replaced by a predictable apathy. The depth of our souls would be shallow and without hope, faith, and the longing for eternal life.
In the New Testament, however, a mystery is not something one cannot see or understand. It is a truth that was hidden in the past that God has now revealed to His followers. A mystery is a “spiritual secret” that is unknown to those outside the faith but understood and valued by the family of God.
Paul talks about one of these mysteries in Ephesians 3. He explains the mystery of the gospel and how it unites all people in one body known as the Church. Paul himself was a perfect example of this mystery. He had been a Jewish leader who was now sharing the good news of Jesus with the Gentiles. Paul was doing the unthinkable and building community among the Jews and Gentiles under the banner of Christ. The world had not seen this before and didn’t understand what was happening.
Verse 6 captures this perfectly where it says, “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.” The Gentiles, along with the Jews, received the inheritance which the Lord promised to his people from the beginning. They were all God’s children and members of the same body.
There was and is only one people of God. In the Church, through Jesus, all believers are part of the same community regardless of human differences. Christ’s work on the cross and his resurrection accomplished more than the salvation of individuals. It reconciled and brought Jews and Gentiles to God and each other.
The same reconciling power of Christ that unites all people is still effective and available today. In a volatile and divided world, the unifying nature of the gospel should be seen in the Church. The Church is to put on full display the manifold wisdom of God to those who are unbelieving. It should be a diverse community of individuals from all races, cultures, and backgrounds coming together under faith in Jesus.
God’s plan and work in and through the Church is a beautiful mystery. It is not understood by the world when they see His kindness, goodness, and grace expressed in the lives of His people. But it stands as a beautiful contrast to the ugliness of sinful attitudes and relational discord that divides mankind.
Yes, God had a mysterious plan or “secret” but He does not want it to be a secret anymore. Paul says in verse 9 that the beautiful mystery of God’s plan should now be a splendid realization. He wrote that we are to “make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.”
The Church has the awesome responsibility to explain the mystery; to counter the evil of prejudice, marginalization, and racism that is so prevalent in modern society with love, acceptance, and harmony that comes from our unifying identity in Christ.
In reading Ephesians 3, Paul was bringing a call to live rightly. This chapter really spoke to me. This is what God was saying to me as I read it. When you really understand how much I have done for you, you will naturally want to serve and obey Me out of gratitude. Lowliness means you can be happy and content when you are not in control or steering things your way.
If you have a humble, forgiving attitude towards each other it fulfills this gift of the unity of the spirit. If you live near to Christ it is the best way of promoting unity. You should never grow independent of My son Jesus, but you grow up into Him. I want you to see the church as a body, where every part does its share. My son Jesus has turned you around and put you in the right direction. Now you have to walk and progress in that direction.
Quit trying to go your own way. You need to change into a different kind of conduct, which will change your attitudes. There must be a break with your past. Quit trying to hold on to it. You need to set your mind on the right things. Christian growth is the renewing of your mind. You’re staying close to Me, will keep you from sinful behavior. Telling the truth is important as you are members of one body. Let go of your anger, giving no opportunity to the devil.
You work so that you can give. If you neglect holiness, it will grieve me. It grieves Me to see you love worldly things better than you love Me. I see how you spend your time and what matters to you. Deal with your emotions in a way that glorifies me. Treat others as I treat you. Do not withhold forgiveness. Forgive as I have forgiven you. I forgive your sin knowing that you will sin again.
I know that I need to quit trying to control my life. I am not doing very well with me trying to be in charge. If I stay close to Jesus, I will want to do the right things rather than trying to do things my way.
Holy Spirit, come to me, rest right here,
Inside of me guard my heart, keep my mind
Let it be Your Peace, that I find.
Holy Spirit, come be with me,
Continue to support all of me and lead my soul,
Direct my ways to heed the words, my heart prays.
Holy Spirit, come anoint me, place your seal right here in me
Spirit of life and spirit of grace may your wisdom, I embrace.
What that means to me is that the Holy Spirit comforts me, releases and delivers unto me all of God’s might. His power counsels me every waking hour and His Holy Spirit is a gift to me that lives inside of me. His Spirit calms my fear and comes and whispers truth in my ear.
Wow Jeri! That’s awesome! Thanks for sharing.
Jeri, this is artistic and deep. You are quite the poet and the words and I found myself reading this over and over again and making it a prayer in my heart. I want the Holy Spirit to guard my heart and keep my mind from the lies of the enemy, from what the world says about me. I want to experience the peace of God as He leads my soul and directs my ways. I need His wisdom every day.
Thank you for this beautiful poetic prayer. It is going in my journal and I am going to use it as a prayer for the Holy Spirit to move in and through my life.
Kathy, I think your comments about growing in Christ, taking on his attitude and humility and allowing Him to guide us into the future and beyond the past, were very needed and profound. These lines stood out to me:
“Quit trying to go your own way. You need to change into a different kind of conduct, which will change your attitudes. There must be a break with your past.”
The New Testament always points us toward newness in Christ – a new life, a new attitude, a new walk, a new mind, and a new future. I agree with you that living in the past and allowing it to control our lives is not a biblical way to live for a follower of Jesus. It is the self-centered and sinful way to live and we must allow God, in His strength, to help us change and break with our past so we can claim the life God desires for us.
Did you know God’s immeasurable grace is transparent and free if one asks? Well, Paul writes from prison to the Ephesians, His insight into the mystery of Christ. He explains the infinite, least expected riches of Christ.
The church of today and Christians know this plan as salvation. Paul indicates he was the least of God’s saints, just like you and me. Each of us is filled with the Holy Spirit, the plan (secret) trusted to the Gentiles is entrusted to you and me also. Once Christians grasp the total experience of God’s love (grace) by wholly being filled and flooded with the love of God, then a family can blossom.
We grow in family love. We experience together with the deep-rooted love of Christ and are totally filled with God himself. The church members have a responsibility and charge to spread the unending Love of Christ, the plan of Salvation to others and minister amongst ourselves.
To God be the glory in the church, through the church, in each person and throughout the Kingdom of God, forevermore.
Trina, I too am thankful that the mystery of Christ was revealed to the Gentiles and to us! It’s such an amazing truth to know that we are all apart of God’s family and “partakers and sharers in the inheritance of Christ.” We don’t deserve it but I’m grateful for the gospel and the unifying power of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
As I continue to read this chapter over and over again, while sharing it with others, listening to God and hearing Him through others: This is what I believe God has intended for us all. To be together in unity, Jew and Gentile, all people in unity through Christ. Thank you God for who you are and all you do. Thank you God for giving us life with you and with each other. We appreciate your perfect plans and see their ultimate filament in our life with you.
I want to encourage you to know who you are in Christ. Seek a super personal relationship with him and experience the super abundant life, that God has planned for you, which greatly includes the family of God.
I felt the overwhelming message of unity and love from this chapter too, Ken. In light of Christ’s finished work on the cross and his resurrection, we should do all we can to seek unity through Him among his people. He accomplished so much for us out of his great love that it should inspire us to honor Him by loving and regarding each other.
Ephesians 3:16-19 says, “I pray that he will make you strong with power from the riches of his glory. He will do this in you (in your inner person) by his Holy Spirit. When you have faith in Christ, he will live in you. Then your lives will be like plants with roots in the ground of his love. And I pray that you and all the saints will know more of the love of Christ. You will be able to understand that his love is immense. It is so very wide and long and high and deep. His love is much too great to know completely. But I pray that the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ will fill you until you are full. I pray that he will fill you with the whole nature of God.”
Paul’s love for God and the family of God is so great, so awesome, that he is always praying for others and encouraging them, listening to God and writing down what he had learned from Father God. I love to pray for others and my hope is for you and me to know more every day about how much our heavenly Father loves us.
That we would desire to know Him and seek God in everything we do. That we would know that He is there for you, experience His love and be filled with His love and joy as we spend time with Him. That we would talk to Him with our whole heart and be rooted deep down in His love. Most important is to listen and respond to His love. That blesses his heart.
God has given us the best gift Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit. His Spirit is there to help us through everything in life, all we have to do is ask Him. Our strength comes from God. God gives us strength by the Holy Spirit with power. His power means He gives us the strength, the ability to do something or act in a particular way. He gives us what we need to go through things in life with Him.
The more you understand how much God loves you will have the strength to reach out to bless and share God’s love. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you in the Bible how much God loves you and remind you of all the blessings He gives you all throughout your day. Jesus loves you.
I can’t think of a better daily exercise, Heidi than to read the Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to show us how much God loves us. It’s also so important to recall and be reminded of his blessings every day. It brings peace and hope to our lives and calms anxiety and fear. We need that every day. Thank you for the reminder!
Wow! I enjoyed reading all of the comments. Thanks, everyone! It was beautiful. This week I was blessed with another song from pastor Ken’s message and Ephesians 3 called “God’s Love.”
God is with us always
He will never let us go, never let us go
He strengthens us with his mighty power
We get to experience life with Him every day
We have his love, love, love
May our bodies fill with his love
Sharing with all of his children
Sharing his love with all of his children
God’s love will never leave you and He wants us to share His love with others.
Thank you for your song this week, Alma. My spirit always lights up at the mention of God’s love and the thought of how He unconditionally loves us and demonstrated that through Jesus. Your lyrics made me think of a song I’ve been listening to lately and reminds us that God’s love is better than anything else we could have or experience in the world.
It’s called “Better” and here are some of the words:
All the money that the world could hold
Mountains made of solid gold
Riches that could buy my dreams
You are better than all these things
Your love is better than life
You are the well that won’t run dry
I have tasted, and I have seen
You are better than all these things
I hope this blesses you in some way.
Jason, thanks for always giving your encouragement. I know not only do you bless us but also many others. God loves when we use kind words and you do an awesome job for Christ and all who reads these messages. I feel blessed serving for God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I love the song Better. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for your kind, encouraging words to me, Alma. Like you, I feel so blessed to serve the Lord and to have the opportunity to write about God’s word and interact with wonderful people like yourself.
It is a real privilege to experience life with you all in this way and I’m thankful for what God is doing among this group of people at Reach. I appreciate you and your heart.
I’m glad you liked the song. It is quickly becoming one of my favorites and I’ve been playing it on repeat for a few weeks now. The message is so powerful and affirming.
As we read through this chapter, God drew me to many verses but in all, he was saying to me to open my heart to Him and let Him fill me with all His love. God wants us to open our eyes and mind to all that He has to offer and share that with all the people we come into contact with. We need to be willing at a moment’s notice to respond to Him and follow His instructions.
What that means to me is that by his love and grace, we are able to share Him with others. Because if it was left up to our own mind, we would not go so far to help those in need. But with God’s help, He empowers us to show His true and honest love to others. I am thankful to God for the amazing gift He has given us. It is through Him that we know the true way to love.
I couldn’t agree more with this, Sam. I really connected to and was convicted by this comment: “If it was left up to our own mind, we would not go so far to help those in need. But with God’s help, He empowers us to show His true and honest love to others.”
That’s hard to admit but it is a true statement. Without the love of God invading our hearts, it is difficult to really show other people the grace, mercy, and love that Christ desires of us. The love that truly impacts people for good and that demonstrates God’s heart.
Your post made me think about and grateful for the love of God talked about in 1 John 4:7-12 where it says: “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love. Dear friends since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”
Now that is real love. It is the kind of love that I want to show my family, friends, co-workers, and strangers. It is the love that I would not be capable of outside of God’s strength and power. It is truly a gift from God to love that way and I appreciate how you’re always pointing toward that truth and living it out.