Ephesians 3:6 , “This mystery is that the gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”
What do you make of that sentence? Does this thrill your soul? Possibly, your greatest duty today is to remember; Remember the grace of God who has offered His gift of salvation to all who believe. Paul uses the word “mystery” and it is clear that this was no mystery to our God (Ephesians 3:9). Rather, the mystery lands on carnal minds, created beings who cannot perceive the mind of God. This was the purpose of God—His will being carried out—confounding the minds of those who supposed they had it all figured out. Don’t we all do this? We hold to a promise of God so tightly it becomes common to us as if we have it perfectly worked out.
Arrogance waits surreptitiously in hopes to overtake the studious mind. Does that sound like a contradiction? Well it is not, my friend. It is the craftiness of our Adversary who loves to prowl upon men and women in their endeavor to understand the riches of grace found in the gospel of Christ. It is a prevalent temptation for the learner to nail down a truth and consider it perfected in our hearts and minds. For those of us who have walked with the Lord for many years the brilliance of the gospel and the wisdom of God can become dull to us. Understanding the doctrine of salvation, proper eschatology, ecclesiology, Christology, soteriology (all-the-ology’s!) can result in an unhealthy contentment in our pursuit of God’s glory.
Truth was never meant to begin with itself. Grace is not a gift to be figured out in its entirety. Rather, its greatest purpose is to bend the stubborn knees of man’s pride to the ground in humble-exaltation unto a marvelous, omniscient God. The mystery of God’s manifold wisdom in salvation towards the Gentiles is worthy of Paul’s suffering (Ephesians 3:13) because it points to a powerful, able God.
A rich theology of God and His grace should permeate our soul with deep worship not only in its perception and understanding, but even more so in how it functions. The greatest evidence of God-glorifying theology is not how well you assent to it with your mind, but how well you testify to it with your life. Are we past remembering the grace towards us in Christ Jesus? I can assure you that if you feel you are past remembering, you are not truly understanding. Speaking to the Gentiles in Rome, Paul exhorts them to flee from any hint of boasting and to remember the cost of their inclusion into the promised salvation.
Romans 11: 17-22: “But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.”
What has made this reality possible for those of us outside the fold? The atoning blood of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:13) and from its flow we have received grace upon grace. Indeed, this mystery is profound, and worthy of every attempt to comprehend its magnificence. By all means devote yourselves to the pursuit of sound doctrine (1 Timothy 4:13) and dive as deep as possible into the wealth of God’s word. Yet, don’t let your plethora of proper theology be met with a cold heart and complacent assent. As we seek to know more about God, let us be cautious of forgetting the grace that has enlightened the eyes of our hearts (Ephesians 1:18) and the faith that has allowed us to stand before Him (Romans 11:20). Perhaps you read these words and find your soul in an arctic state before the love of God. Could it be you have spent little time considering the kindness of your Savior, brushed off the cross as an event solved to your mind’s satisfaction, and forgotten the awe that should mark every grace-bought child of God? Charles Spurgeon put it well:
“It’s not enough to know about Christ, it is knowing Christ Himself that alone saves the soul!”
Do not forget His kindness, mercy and love. “Do not become proud, fear (Romans 11:20b)”. We are owed nothing—all is a gift; all is grace. Today, let us resolve to remember God’s pardoning grace towards an unlikely people, so that we can rightly proclaim His exciting work to a bored world. In response to all we know, and to Whom has known us–produce in us this God-exalting benediction, O, Lord!
Romans 11: 33-36: “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
“For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
“Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”