For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.
14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
“…to make plain to all men the meaning of that divine secret which he who created everything in Christ has kept hidden…until now. The purpose is that all the angelic powers should now see the complex wisdom of God’s plan being worked out through the Church, in conformity to that timeless purpose which he centred in Jesus, our Lord” (Ephesians 3:9-11, Phillips).
Here Paul explains the purpose of his calling—far greater than issues of circumcision or whether food in the marketplace might previously have been offered to an idol.
John the Revelator speaks of “the everlasting gospel”—Good News that has existed from everlasting to everlasting, which is how Moses described God (Psalm 90:2). God alone is eternal, but God also always knew what would happen…and what He would do.
So this “timeless purpose” must surely encompass the cosmic conflict with all the challenges of the devil and the death and devastation that would result. God’s “complex wisdom” would meet the terrible emergency, and His method would ensure that the rebellion would never rise again—through the revelation of His own great character in the life and death of Christ, and His setting right and making right those who through faith embrace His grace.
The Gospel is God’s secret revealed—and an invitation to all to be part of it!
Artist—designing and building stained glass windows, Spokane Valley Seventh-day Adventist Church, Washington State USA