Isn’t this an interesting little chunk? Paul mentions “mysteries” several times here, and likens these “mysteries” to the “administration of God’s grace”; what could he be referring to?
He mentions a mystery that was made known to him by revelation, and calls it the mystery of Christ. He ends the first paragraph telling us that this mystery has been made known, that through the gospel, the Gentiles are being made into one holy nation with Israel− the administration of God’s grace! Consider this for a second; we usually think of the gospel as being all about salvation, our salvation. The gospel is the good news about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ which made it possible for MY sins to be forgiven, so I can have eternal life… oh and by the way, you can have it too.
Yet Paul is telling us a much bigger story than MY story! He is telling us that God’s plan was to unite all of us into one Body, the church… for a purpose, and that purpose was not merely how God would save ME.
His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
The gospel is not just MY good news, nor is it just YOUR good news, it is God’s eternal purpose to bring us into unity, through faith in Jesus Christ, to crush the accuser of all of us, the Devil, and this is no small thing. Did you notice the role of the church? No, it wasn’t just to go through the motions on Sunday, it was to play a central role in this victory and be the means by which God’s message was brought to the world to accomplish God’s purpose.
Well dear reader, it seems like we are in the middle of something that is very big.
Why did Paul refer to this as a mystery? Simple, because God had not revealed it to anyone before it happened. There were prophecies for sure, but it is really only in hindsight that they become clear. In the gospel accounts, who was it that by all rights should have known right off who Jesus was when He first appeared on the scene? Well of course, it was the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, for they knew the prophets, and they were very intelligent and well-educated in these matters. OK, one more question: Who had Him killed?
Yep, you’ve got it, the very ones who should have welcomed Him.
Yes, it was quite a mystery!
But it is a mystery no more, and you and I are right in the middle of it, on the front lines you might say. Each of us has received gifts, as Paul received gifts from the Holy Spirit of God, and also just like Paul, we have His power and authority behind us. So troops, what shall we do next?
Here’s a hint: Did you notice Paul’s reference to his circumstances in verses 1 and 13?