The Mystery or Secret of Christ - Gentiles are FellowheirsVolume 3, Number 66
Created Date: January 31, 2013
Posted Date: January 31, 2013
Vol 3 - No 66, January 31, 2013
The Mysteries or Secrets of God revealed to the Apostle Paul - Part 5:
We continue examining the mysteries God revealed to the Apostle Paul by tracing the 20 occasions Paul used the Greek word “musterion,” translated either “mystery or mysteries,” in his epistles. As previously observed, this word means or refers to a secret or secrets. It is found 6 times in Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians, the most often in any New Testament book, which is consistent with the fact Ephesians contains the capstone of truth for the church of this age, the Body of Christ, which is made up of all true believers who have lived since Paul, having been a secret before it was revealed to Paul,. We last examined the mystery of God’s will referenced in : “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:” We now proceed to the third chapter where “musterion” is used 3 times.
: (vs. 1) “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:”
These 9 verses explain aspects of the mystery or secret God revealed to Paul about the dispensation or economy of the grace of God in Christ, for us:
Verse 1 - The opening phrase “for this cause,” refers both to the statement just preceding it at the end of chapter 2, as well as the information that follows. The verses just preceding it are as follows:
“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”.
It was “for this cause” that Paul was a prisoner of Jesus Christ for us Gentiles. That is, since this mystery or secret was revealed to Paul, Gentile believers are no longer strangers of God, but we are fellow citizens and are built on Jesus Christ, the foundation, upon which we believers are a holy temple in the Lord, for a habitation of God.
Verse 2 - The dispensation of the Grace of God is for we Gentiles. The Greek word translated “dispensation” means “an administration, an economy or stewardship.” So, Paul is saying he was charged with the administration or stewardship of the grace (unmerited favor) of God, which is for us.
Verses 3 & 4 - This special stewardship was The Mystery (secret) that God revealed directly to Paul and about which Paul had written before. And Paul’s purpose was so the Ephesians, and we today, will understand this mystery/ secret of Christ.
Verse 5 - This secret was not known until God revealed it to Paul and the apostles with him. (These were not the 12 apostles who were chosen by Christ while He was on earth. They were chosen from and for Israel and were promised by Christ to sit on 12 thrones in Christ’s future earthly Kingdom,& .)
Verse 6 - This secret was that Gentiles are now fellow heirs (participants in common, i.e., we are heirs together). God has made Gentile believers legal heirs and members of Christ’s Body, by the Gospel. The Gospel (good news) referred to here for us is that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again,.
The fact that Gentiles are now fellow heirs is highly significant to those who have studied the Bible and understand that God specifically chose Abraham, Isaac and then Jacob who was renamed Israel to bless as His chosen people. Israel’s 12 sons produced the 12 tribes of Israel, i.e., The Nation of Israel and ultimately Jesus Christ came as their Messiah, as promised. This explains why Jesus told the only Gentile woman who came to Him during His earthly ministry: “But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs, which fall from their masters' table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.”.
Verse 7 - Paul was made a minister of the Gospel to the Gentiles by God’s Grace (unmerited favor) and this was accomplished by God’s inherent power (it was not by anything that Paul did).
Verse 8 - Paul describes himself as less than the least of all saints. Inhe writes that he was the least of all apostles because he persecuted the church of Christ, which had been that band of Jewish believers following the 12 apostles at Pentecost, as recorded in the first few chapters of the book of Acts. That was before God reached down and saved him - see also .
Paul goes on in verse 8 to state that this grace (unmerited favor) was given him so he should preach the unsearchable or untraceable riches of God to the Gentiles.
Verse 9 - And that his mission or goal was to make everyone see the fellowship, or participation, or partnership of this mystery/secret that God had kept to Himself since the beginning of this world.
Then the last statement of verse 9 Paul states that God created all things by Jesus Christ. This is in reference to the fact that the Word of God spoke this entire universe into existence:
Jesus Christ was the Word of God and had been throughout eternity past,, who came and dwelt among man, . It was He, as the Word of God who spoke this universe into being: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” . “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” .
Recapping Ephesians 3:1 - 9: The Apostle Paul is addressing Gentiles, that is, men and women other than Jews. He states that God called him, even though he was most undeserving, to be His messenger to proclaim a secret God had kept to Himself since the beginning of the earth; that is, Gentiles were to be joint partakers of the unsearchable riches in Christ. (All anyone has to do to receive these riches is to believe: “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” 1 Corinthians 15:1 - 4.)
“That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise,”.