In verses 7–13, Paul transitioned from describing the mystery to relaying his responsibility to distribute the mystery to the Gentiles.
LEAST OF ALL THE SAINTS
In verse 7, Paul gave insight into why he was a part of this ministry and his place within the ministry. Paul was made a minister of the gospel by God’s grace. Due to Paul’s background of adamantly opposing Christians, Paul understood the magnificent gift of God’s grace and how undeserving he was of it, which is why he said he was the least of all the saints in verse 8. We see Paul’s humility shining through here. Because of this great gift he received, Paul dedicated his life to the ministry of sharing it with others, specifically the Gentiles. It was not forced, but something he wanted to do. Paul’s service to God was sustained by the working of God’s power.
In verses 8–9, Paul made two statements about his ministry: he was to “preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,” and “to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery.” Paul was Jewish and ministered to the Jews, but his specific calling was to the Gentiles (Romans 11:13). As discussed in chapter one of Ephesians, the Gentiles now had access to the riches of Christ.
Paul’s job was to shed light on this mystery for everyone to know. This mystery was never a mystery to God, since it had been hidden with Him for ages. All along, God had this beautiful, powerful plan that would forever influence eternity by bringing Jews and Gentiles together through the grace of Christ and under His headship. And now was the time for all to know.
In these verses, Paul defined the purpose of his ministry. Through the church— believing Jews and Gentiles together in one body, the manifold wisdom of God—this new relationship between the Jews and Gentiles might “be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.” Believing Jews and Gentiles joining together shows God’s great wisdom and plan, and all who see, those on earth and in the spiritual realm, will praise Him. As an ancient doxology says: “Praise Him, all creatures here below. Praise Him above, ye heavenly hosts.” All of this, the mystery, was according to God’s eternal purpose, which He accomplished through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
Paul ended this section with an encouragement to his Ephesian readers. He told them to not lose heart over his sufferings because his sufferings were for their good and glory in Christ. Paul was imprisoned because he was preaching the gospel to the Gentiles. Due to Paul’s preaching and God’s power, the Gentiles received salvation. For this reason, Paul told them his suffering was worth it.
God’s eternal plan was to join believing Jews and Gentiles together—to offer His grace to all people. In what ways does this truth—the fact that throughout all of eternity, from the beginning of the world when the first sin was committed, God had it in mind to offer His grace to all people— affect you?
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