The Berean Expositor
Volume 45 - Page 139 of 251
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The Epistle to the Ephesians (6).
pp. 37 - 40
Having unfolded in iii.6 some of the characteristics of the great secret (mystery A.V.)
which God had revealed to him as its human channel, the Apostle Paul links it with the
"gospel whereof I was made a minister" (verses 6 and 7). It is a profound mistake, made
by many, that the word `gospel' always means the same thing wherever it is used in the
N.T. and denotes no more than the good news of God's salvation of the sinner by faith in
Christ as Saviour. True it is that this is always the beginning of God's dealings with man,
but to restrict it to this would wipe out much of the deeper riches of truth that God wants
to make known to His saints and is therefore `good news' indeed (Col. 1: 27). Here Paul
is not referring to the gospel of salvation, but to this stewardship of the mystery which is
the subject of the context. This should be good news to every believer! The past phrase
of verse 6 must not be divorced from verse 7. This aspect of God's good news was
peculiarly linked with his ministry and no one else's. It is futile to try and find such
revelation in the ministry of Peter, James, John (Gospel and epistles) or Jude and it is
significant that these servants of the Lord could faithfully discharge their service to Him
without featuring the word mystery or secret. (The book of the Revelation looks in
fulfillment to the future Way of the Lord.)
This special ministry of Paul's had its basis in the limitless grace of God. The grace
that had saved him, was the same grace that enabled him to be a faithful witness and
servant of the Lord. This and the mighty resurrection power of Christ was all-sufficient,
and the more he thought about it, the more he marveled; that he of all people should have
been chosen as the chief steward of such spiritual riches, was beyond his fathoming. In
I Cor. 15: 9 he described himself as "the least of the apostles . . . . . not meet to be called
an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God". In Eph. 3: he takes even a lower
place in real humility, and describes himself as "less than the least of all saints" (verse 8).
Perhaps he thought how rightly he had been named Paul (from the Latin Paullus, `little'),
and through him God was pouring out undreamed riches to the despised far-off Gentile,
who was a believer in Christ.
He now states his great aim: "to make all (men) see (literally, to enlighten all) what is
the dispensation of the Mystery (secret) which from all ages hath been hid in God Who
created all things" (R.V.). This divine stewardship of the great secret, unfolded in the
creation of the New Man, the joint-Body with its untold spiritual wealth, the Apostle
earnestly longed to pass on to others, to all those who had been chosen in Christ before
the foundation of the world (1: 4). For this he knew the necessity for "opened eyes" or
enlightenment (1: 17, 18) for without such Divine enlightenment, the human mind would
be totally unable to grasp the unsearchable riches connected with this secret.
We may say that Paul had at least two great object to achieve: (1) to preach the gospel
of God's gracious way of salvation to the sinner, Jew or Gentile, which had been given to
him by direct revelation of the Lord Jesus (Gal. 1: 11, 12), concerning which he said