Friday, 12 August 2016
…how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, Ephesians 3:3
The words of this verse note the way that Paul learned of the “dispensation” he mentioned in the previous verse. It was “by revelation.” The words are emphatic in the Greek. It was not by man’s wisdom that this was made known, nor could it have been discerneded by man. Rather, it was a “mystery.”
As noted in Ephesians 1:9, the word mystery carries with it more than what we would think of as a mere mystery that can’t be known. Although it does imply that which was unknown, it also means that which has been now made known by God’s revelation. And so this mystery is that which is entirely unknowable except and unless it is revealed by God. When it is so revealed, it is a “mystery made known.”
What was unknown and unknowable to man apart from it being revealed by God, was made known through this special revelation to Paul. This is something he notes in Galatians 1 as well –
“For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Galatians 1:12
He finishes this verse with a parenthetical thought, “as I have briefly written already.” This is not referring to another letter which is now lost. Rather it is referring to what he has already said in this letter. The thought was introduced in Ephesians 1:9 and explained through 1:14. He then expanded on it in Chapter 2 as well. The mystery that he is referring to is not the gospel specifically. Rather, it is the fact that the Gentiles are a part of the gospel. They are now included in the rights and benefits of the commonwealth of Israel. He is the apostle who was chosen to transmit this mystery to the world and to give the epistles which govern this dispensation of time.
Life application: Without studying Paul’s epistles, the message of Christ’s work for the Gentiles will be completely misunderstood. This is why he is so maligned by Judaizers and others who want to re-insert the law into their theology. Diminishing the writings of Paul are the only option. Thus, such people diminish the word of God. They are heretics who are to be rejected. Stand on Paul’s epistles for your proper church-age doctrine.
Heavenly Father, You are so very good to us. You send the rains in their season, You give us the cool spring days and the full sun of summer. Plants know when to sprout and when to put forth their fruit – all at Your direction. How is it that we fail to do the same? Help us O Lord to be fruitful and to bear much fruit for You in this season we live. Help us to not squander the precious few moments we have to share the message of Christ… the only hope of restoration with You. Amen.