Monday, 15 August 2016
…that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, Ephesians 3:6
This is the explanation of the “mystery” which Paul has been referring to in the previous verses. It is the revelation of that which would have been (and continues to be) unimaginable – even unthinkable – to the Jews. They had been the selected and chosen people. They had received the oracles of God. They had been the stewards of the law. It was promised that the Messiah would come through them. Because of these, and a thousand other reasons, they assumed that they alone would be the recipients of the promises of God. But they were wrong.
Paul now explains this with the words, “that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs.” Everything that was promised as coming to the Jews would likewise be shared by the Gentiles. There was no “greater inheritance” for the Jews than for the Gentiles.
He next says that the Gentiles would be “of the same body.” Both Jew and Gentile would be a part of the same organism which God is building in Christ. They would be equal members of the household of God without distinction.
Thirdly, Paul says that the Gentiles would be “partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel.” This means that every honor and blessing bestowed upon one would be bestowed upon the other. The sealing of the Holy Spirit which came upon one would also be granted to the other. This sealing is the authorization to receive the fullness of what God has planned for His people, and it is given in full measure to all who come to Christ.
Further, none of these points which Paul makes come indirectly through the Jew. The Gentiles were not required to become Jews before receiving the honors. Instead, they receive them apart from this earthly badge of distinction. This is seen in the three words which Paul chose to use in order to describe the state of the Gentiles who are in Christ. They reveal that the Gentiles hold the status of being joint-heirs, in a joint-body, and jointly partaking of that which is granted.
So particular is Paul in his choice of wording here, that two of the three descriptive words are unique to the New Testament and to classical Greek. Paul had to invent words to show the results of the outstanding plan of God which is revealed in this mystery.
It is solely through the work of Christ that either category is granted this status. The sealing of the Holy Spirit can only come through His work. When it comes, the person – regardless of their earthly status – is brought into the family of God.
Life application: Two important points of doctrine can be deduced from this single verse. The first is that though there is no distinction in Christ between Jew and Gentile, the two categories still remain. Gentiles cannot be joint-anything with Jews if the two become one in personal category. Further, the idea that Gentiles need to either convert to Judaism, or to hold to the precepts of the law which originally established their faith, is proven false. One category (Jew or Gentile) cannot be a joint-anything with another if they have become the same in life-walk. Gentiles remain Gentiles, Jews remain Jews, and that which makes a person one or another is not imposed on the other.
Lord God, it is a marvel and a wonder what has happened through the work of Christ. Both Jew and Gentile are brought into an equal and full participation in Your kingdom because of Him. And it is solely because of Him. Only He fulfilled the law that stood opposed to both. Thank You that by a mere act of faith, all who believe are welcomed into Your promises. Thank You for this marvelous offer of peace and son-ship through Your promised Messiah! Thank You for Jesus! Amen.