For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—
Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 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. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.
Understanding And Applying the Text
Paul had received the grace of God, even though he had done nothing to deserve it. He understood that, as he referred to himself he was, “less than the least of all of God’s people.” But he received grace to pass the knowledge of that grace on to the early church. God Himself had revealed this to Paul and as a result, Paul had insights into the mystery of Christ. This mystery was not to be a secret. Paul was to educate the church so they understood it. The mystery is that the Gentiles were now heirs along with the Israelites to the promises of God. They are heirs because of the work of Christ.
Paul calls his call to preach the gospel to the Gentiles and his resulting imprisonment a gift from God. Notice what Paul did not say. Paul did not say, because I am less than the least of all God’s people, because I persecuted the church, God is now balancing the scale by placing me in prison. No, Paul calls his incarceration and suffering a gift from God.
God’s will, will be accomplished. It was God’s plan since before the beginning of time that His will be accomplished through Christ. This was not plan B because of Adam’s sin. God knew what would happen. This was His plan all along. As a result, He is using the church as a vehicle to reveal His glory to the angels.
Paul says don’t be discouraged because of my suffering. This is all part of God’s plan. God is in control of creation. His will will be accomplished. Paul’s excitement was that God chose him to be a part of it.
Wow! God is using the church to reveal his wisdom to the rulers in the heavenly realm. That means He uses you and me, as the church, to educate and reveal something to the angels. How cool is that!
God commissioned Paul to reveal to us, gentiles, the mystery of Christ. That mystery is we, as sinners, are heirs to the promise of God. What word can you use other than, “Wow”? God adopted us into His family. We, who had no part in the promises. We were foreigners and aliens. God gave us, you and me, the right of sonship. We share in the promises of God. Why? Ah, the mystery. This has been God’s plan from all eternity, that we should receive the gift of God’s grace through the gospel of Christ.
God called a highly educated Jew, Paul, to bring this message to Gentiles. As a result, we have the gospel preached to us. Paul suffered as a result of his preaching to the Gentiles. But his suffering is our glory. While I do not wish or hope for suffering, I want to God to use me. And I understand that being His messenger may result in suffering. May God grant me the grace he granted Paul.
Even if I do not know how God’s grace is revealed in me. I can rest assured that God’s purpose will be accomplished.