A dark, damp prison cell became the place where glorious light flooded Paul’s heart regarding a mystery that was hidden for ages before the Spirit came. As he takes a piece of parchment and quill, Paul’s spirit is filled with the glory of the gospel. This mystery unfolds from the beginning of Ephesians, Paul’s first prison letter, as he recounts the blessings we have received from God the Father through Jesus Christ. All these blessings were to “set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of times” (1:9-10), where you and I are right now, in our time and culture.
As Paul describes God’s purpose for us (“to the praise of His glory”, 1:12, 14), he shows that our salvation is totally a work of His grace. We are God’s “workmanship” (2:10) in spite of what we were or our ethnic background, and through His work has joined us into one in Christ, forming the church as “a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (2:22). This was always God’s plan from “before the foundation of the world” (1:4).
Now, Paul is ecstatic with joy for being chosen to proclaim these “unsearchable riches of Christ” along with what this revealed mystery is going to do. This plan of God was revealed “so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might be made known” (3:10). I often see ways that the Church has missed the importance of this revelation. We become occupied with man’s ways and programs, conflicts and pettiness, personalities and material things, rather than God’s great and majestic purpose and plan for the Church and us who make it up.
If God’s purpose and plan is going to be fulfilled in our day, we must be single minded in this plan. Otherwise, our ministry and lives will be spent in vain.
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