Saturday, 13 August 2016
…by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), Ephesians 3:4
The Greek words “by which” indicate what he has already written. This is more evident when the previous verse is taken together with this one –
“…how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ),”
Paul has been writing concerning the revelation by which Christ made known to him the mystery. In reading this, he says that he expects his reader would understand his “knowledge in the mystery of Christ.” Again, the word mystery is used in the sense of something which was previously hidden, but which is now made known through God’s special revelation. Paul was the one chosen to receive the unveiling of this mystery. Once received, he has then shared it with those to whom he was sent, meaning the Gentiles.
He did this both verbally as he travelled, and in writing as well, in order to support the message he had proclaimed. We are the continued recipients of those writings as they are included in the pages of Scripture. The mystery of Christ is now open and available to be read and understood by any who will pay heed.
For Jews who reject the New Testament, they believe that they alone are the recipients of God’s word, both in writing and in the application of it to themselves as a people. For those who accept the New Testament, but diminish the importance of, and twist the meaning of, Paul’s epistles, the mystery is not properly understood. Thus, the grace of Christ is often missed, and there tends to be a reinsertion of the Old Testament laws into their theology. Both of these are heretical concepts.
Paul’s reception of the revelation of this mystery is what opens up the truth of the church age to the people of the world. Jew and Gentile alike equally share in the finished work of Christ. Their inclusion into this body is solely an act of grace, and it comes only by faith in what He has done.
Life application: A thorough study of Paul’s words, and then the application of them to our Christian walk, is expected of every believer. They are an integral part of what God has done through Jesus Christ. Without them, there is only confused theology and an improper walk, a walk which is not of faith in Christ’s finished work.
Lord God, when Jesus said, “It is finished” on the cross of Calvary, it took the greatest burden of all off of our shoulders. Our futile attempts at pleasing You have been set aside. Now faith in what He has done is our means of access to restoration and eternal fellowship with You! Help us never to diminish the work of our Savior by reinserting precepts from a law which could save no one. Help us to trust in the work of Jesus alone. With this, we know You will be pleased. Amen!