Ephesians 3:7, “Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power.”
In the last two sections of Ephesians, we’ve learned a great deal about divine election, justification by faith alone, the Holy Spirit’s work, and the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles in Christ (Ephesians 1:1-14; Ephesians 2). Additionally, the Apostle Paul has prayed that we might understand divine revelation (Ephesians 1:15-23). Paul pauses now briefly to speak of his pastoral role in proclaiming the mysteries of Christ in Ephesians 3:1-6. Paul continues this interlude in Ephesians 3:7, explaining he was made a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which unites all Christian’s under the Lordship of Christ, no matter their background.
The source for Paul’s ministry was not his self-sufficiency or power, but the “gift of God’s grace” (Ephesians 3:7). Paul alludes here to verse 2 which brackets and defines everything in verses 2-7. Biblical scholars call this bracketing and defining an inclusion, as it includes everything mentioned under the sphere of a related concept, which in the case here is divine grace. The Apostle Paul is telling his readers and us today that his insight into the mystery of Christ, his call to be a minister of the gospel, his work among the Gentiles, and everything else associated with his Christian life and calling is all rooted in the grace of God. Without the grace of God, Paul would be nothing and have no place at the table in the Kingdom of Heaven. Paul’s emphasis on the primacy and centrality of divine grace saturates his epistles. Indeed, it fills the entire Bible (Exodus 34:6; Zech. 12:10; Romans 1:5-6; 1 Corinthians 15:10; 1 Peter 4:10-11).
Ephesians 3:7 helps us understand the “gift of God’s grace” was given to Paul “by the working of his power.” Nothing less than the Creator’s supernatural strength could overcome Paul’s fierce, hard-hearted opposition to the gospel of the Lord Jesus (Acts 9:1-31). In the conversion of Saul of Tarsus and his transformation into the Apostle Paul, readers see one of if not the clearest demonstration of the irresistible grace of God in the Bible. The Lord God will get His people no matter how long or hard they try to withstand His call, only because His omnipotence also works through His grace. Christians should praise Him as a result of this, for the Lord’s omnipotence grace has likewise turned us from our rebellious ways to follow Him, all because of His grace.
Saul’s conversion and transformation into the Apostle Paul is a dramatic example of the irresistible grace of God. Even so, we should never think that we were closer to the Kingdom than Saul before our conversion. The irresistible grace of our Lord Jesus continues to convert His people to this day and until He returns at His Second Coming. Through conversion, the Lord Jesus displays His mighty power every time an impenitent sinner becomes a disciple of the Lord Jesus.