The Berean Expositor
Volume 45 - Page 136 of 251
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sees this edifice completed in Christ and seated together in the heavenly places where He
is now exalted (1: 20, 21).
We need to pause here, meditate and ask for the ability to grasp as far as it is possible
this stupendous goal, for it is the high water mark in Scripture for the redeemed. God has
nothing higher or more wonderful, for who can get higher than God Himself, or any
nearer to Him than this church? We can be sure this was not lost on Paul, for he
immediately ceases to give further revelation, but falls on his knees and prays (3: 1, 14)
not only for himself, but for the Ephesian believers that this very ability to understand
this great truth may be given them through the Holy Spirit's working. It would be a good
thing for all of us if we were to do the same thing and not rush on to read the rest of the
epistle, for if we miss what God has for us here, we shall have missed God's best.
The third chapter commences with the Apostle describing himself as Christ's prisoner
on behalf of the Gentiles. As we have seen in our past studies, the nation of Israel
dominates the scene from Abraham to the end of the Acts, and the far-off Gentile only
comes into the picture when they are blessed in and through Israel. After the Acts, Israel
is laid aside in unbelief and now we have a special ministry and revelation of truth which
is directed to the Gentiles, quite apart from the Jewish nation. Paul's prison ministry,
concerning which Ephesians is the first letter, is not addressed to the covenant nation
with all their Divine privileges (Rom. 9: 3-5), although individual Jews who were
believers could respond by faith to the riches Paul was the channel in revealing. This
new ministry was primarily and mainly Gentile, a complete reversal of what had been the
normal up to this time. With what interest then should all of us, who are Gentiles, give
attention to God's messenger and God's message!
Verse 2 with its "if so be that" does not imply that the Ephesian saints had possibly
not heard of the dispensation or stewardship of grace that God had given to Paul for
them. It is only a rhetorical way of reminding them what they already knew. The
wonders that the Apostle was going to commit to writing had as their basis nothing but
grace, which occurs no less than 25 times in Paul's prison letters. The gospel which
saved them originated with riches of grace (1: 7) and the new heavenly calling looks
forward to nothing less than exceeding riches of grace in the ages to come (2: 6, 7).
Grace is the favour of God shown to the undeserving, and this is how God is dealing with
every member of the Body of Christ all the time.
The Apostle continues "how that by revelation He made known unto me the Secret
(mystery)". We have seen that `mystery' is not a good translation of the Greek word, for
the English word suggests something that is puzzling and difficult to understand, whereas
`secret' comes much nearer to the meaning of the original, that is something that is
hidden and cannot be known until it is told or revealed. Paul was a steward of the secrets
of God (I Cor. 4: 1) and Peter, James, John and Jude could write their epistles and give
the truth that God willed they should do, without using this word once.
It is true that the last book in the Bible uses it, but this is not an epistle, but looks
forward to the end of the age when the mystery or secret of iniquity is rife and