Ephesians 3:11-12, “This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.”
Paul’s initial persecution of the Christian church demonstrates that he had no idea how a group of people who worshipped a crucified Jewish man could be a part of the plan of God to exalt Israel and save the world through Christ alone. Once Paul met the Lord Jesus on the Damascus Road everything changed (Acts 9:1-31). From that moment forward, Paul was a commissioned apostle of the Lord Jesus, the very Incarnation of God Himself (Colossians 1:19-20). The revelation and commission given to Paul by the Lord Jesus gave him new insight into the Old Testament, which enabled him to see that the Triune Creator had purposed in eternity past to save His people through the humiliation and death of Israel’s representative King- the Lord Jesus (2 Samuel 7:1-7; Isaiah 53). The work of Jesus Christ saves the people of God from the wrath of God and provides a way for the Gentiles to be accepted on the same basis as Jewish Christians before the Father is “according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:11).
Paul’s calling as part of this eternal plan Ephesians 3:1-10 must be considered when we look at Ephesians 3:11-12. The Old Testament Prophets understood that God’s definitive act of redemption and the conversion of the nations to faith in Yahweh, the covenant Lord of Israel would accompany Israel’s return from the Babylonian exile (Isaiah 19:16-25, 60). Paul couldn’t have conceived that he would be one of the chief agents through whom the Lord Jesus would save the nations. The transformation of Saul, the zealous persecutor of Christians, into Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles had always been part of God’s plan to extend the gospel to all people.
In Christ Jesus, the gospel presents Christians as those “in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him” (Ephesians 3:12). Jews and Gentiles alike need not fear the wrath of God any longer if they are in Christ. In Christ, Christians come through the Son for in Him they are reckoned as righteous and acceptable to the Father. John Calvin explains how faith gives us confident access to God: “Faith produces confidence, which again, in its turn, produces boldness…. First, we believe the promises of God; next, by relying on them, we obtain that confidence, which is accomplished by holiness and peace of mind; and, last of all, comes boldness, which enables us to banish fear, and to come with firmness and steadiness into the presence of God.”
Salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone is good news because it assures Christians no matter what God never rejects those who approach Him through His Son. Jesus will forgive any sin, no matter how grievous if we genuinely repent of it and rest entirely on Him in faith. No matter the record of your past, no matter how far gone you seem to be, you are never too far gone from the hand of God’s grace. This is why Christians should never let what we have done keep us from the throne of grace. If we are genuinely repentant for breaking God’s law and love the Lord Jesus, the Father will receive us gladly into the arms of the Son- Jesus.