JohnSWilson3 Blog

“…according to the purpose of the ages…”
November 26, 2010, 2:35 pm
Filed under: P Letter to the Ephesians

In the first section of Chapter 3 of the letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul describes his calling, as an apostle, as one who has been graced by God to preach and build a foundation of Jesus Christ for the brothers and sisters of God’s family. Paul had earlier mentioned that to the church that they were “no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” And that it is “in him” that “the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord” and that “in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” Christ Jesus our Lord is the cornerstone and is the foundation of the body of Christ. He is the capstone, the Head of the body by which the church learns to live by His life together in love for one another.

Chapter 3 seems to reveal more about how the church is built on the foundation of Jesus Christ as Paul immediately states “for this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles…” This section is extremely rich with colorful words of the wonderful descriptions of God’s mystery, His “purpose of the ages” by which God has called Paul and others to preach. I have to say I am still at a loss to some of the imagery, how I too need spiritual sight! Looking at Paul’s words he describes the importance of spiritual sight: “the mystery made known to me by revelation,” “to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,” “has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.” How as individuals and as His body we need what Paul prayed for earlier: “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” Lord give us revelation! How often our focus is on the things about God but not on Christ Himself, who lives in us! How we can be very zealous for a lot of good things but miss the best, Christ in us. No wonder Paul was adamant in his letter to the Galatians who were being deceived by false teachers, becoming institutional in their thinking, focused on the shadows and things about Christ, focusing on legalism, etc. drifting from a “sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” “But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus.” God is “pleased to reveal His Son in” us brothers and sisters! It is about knowing Christ Jesus who lives in us and is our very life! How we need revelation, spiritual sight, to hear from Christ Himself. Father give us spiritual sight to see Christ in us, the hope of glory!

This mystery is all about Christ Jesus. Christ Himself is “the mystery”! This mystery has “now been revealed by the Spirit.” It is the Spirit that opens up peoples hearts to know Christ! Let us pray that the Spirit would open the eyes of the hearts of not only ourselves and our brothers and sisters to “his glorious grace” but to all who are without Christ, to see His life expressed by His people whether in word or deed. The mystery that God want’s all people to know is that from “ages past” that which “was kept hidden in God, who created all things” desires they know “the purpose of the ages which he made in Christ Jesus the Lord.” That mystery is that by “his glorious grace,” “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved,” and can know Christ Jesus as Lord and as a result are “joint-heirs and a joint body and joint-sharers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,” the good news! Those who are separated and excluded and have no hope are “now in Christ Jesus…brought near through the blood of Christ.” What joy to know that God no longer holds our transgressions and sins against us! What joy to know that “because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved”! It was by God’s grace that Paul was not struck down and killed where he was but that the Lord revealed Himself to Paul, not just outwardly but inwardly in the inner man, because that is where Christ lives in His people! We “are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in” us!

This mystery of God, Christ in us, creating “in himself one new man” has but one purpose according to God: “His intent was 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 which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This is the reason for spiritual sight, to know Christ and to live by His life together in unity, in order to express and reveal Christ to one another and the world, both the natural and spiritual! “God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” How we need to know Christ Jesus and Him crucified! To know that we “have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” How we need spiritual sight to see what Christ has done for us, to know His great love for us! Because of who we are in Christ, that He is our very life, any brother or sister “in him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” The literal words are “boldness and access in confidence through the faith of(in) him.” Do we know brothers the freedom and confidence that we have right now in Christ Jesus! “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” We literally with boldness go to Christ, who lives in us and have confidence that He hears us. It is “the Spirit (that) helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” How often He speaks to me without words. How we need to learn to listen to Him, to Christ in us, that is spiritual sight.

When the body of Christ truly begins to live by His life, “the manifold wisdom of God (being) made known…in the heavenly realms” we will be attacked by the enemy. No wonder Paul interjects with the thought that “I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.” Christ is often most revealed in our sufferings. How is our spiritual sight, knowing Christ Jesus with one another? This is not about doing some thing, it is about having life together, having Christ Jesus as Lord and Head together, knowing Him in the inner man together. That is the foundation, that is how we are “joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord” and “in him (are) being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” If we do not know and love one another as Christ does, if He is not Head and Lord then we have a poor foundation. No wonder there are so many divisions among God’s people. How the Lord must grieve. But Christ is not divided! He is our fortress, He is our refuge, He is our life – live by Christ. He is the purpose of the ages!


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Comment by bet365

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Comment by John Wilson

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