When we look at the grandeur of the mountains, we are reminded of how big God is. He is above all things. We believe in Him even though we don’t see Him in a physical body. We strive to believe His ways are good even though we don’t always understand how He works. For all these reasons, God is mysterious. But He is not so mysterious that we can’t know Him. He has revealed Himself to us and given us the essentials of the Christian faith. We can know Him, because He has revealed enough, but other things He has kept a secret (Deuteronomy 29:29).
Paul began chapter 3 by discussing the mystery of Christ— that through the grace of God, Jews and Gentiles had come together to form one, new body under Christ, the head. Gentiles were offered God’s grace, included in His family. For so long the Gentiles had been in the dark, far away from God; now they had been brought near. No one is ever too far away from God; there is always opportunity to receive God’s grace. In chapter 3, Paul described this mystery and shared about his duty to explain the mystery to many people.
“For this reason.” With this phrase, Paul was referring to his letter that preceded this point (chapters 1 and 2 of Ephesians). Specifically, he spoke of the truth that Jesus made a new, unified body that brought the Gentiles and Jews together and that God offered grace to the Gentiles, including them as heirs. Paul reminded them of his imprisonment in Rome and that God had called him to minister to the Gentiles.
Before Paul prayed for the Ephesians at the end of chapter 3, he shared, as one Bible commentary puts it, the “details of his message and ministry.” In verse 2, Paul stated that God had given him grace and now he wanted to give that grace to the Ephesians. And this mystery was revealed to him by God, which he briefly discussed in Ephesians 2:11–22. In verse 4, Paul encouraged his readers that they could have understanding of the mystery through his words. In verse 5, Paul explained when the mystery was uncovered—it “was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed.” This mystery was revealed to Paul by the Holy Spirit, to the “holy apostles and prophets” (v. 5).
So, what is this mystery? In verse 6, Paul explained the mystery in three different ways. First, “Gentiles are fellow heirs.” They are heirs of God’s kingdom with the Jews. Heirs of God’s riches and spiritual blessings discussed in chapter one. Second, they are “members of the same body.” Jew and Gentile believers are together in one body, the wall of hostility between them broken down, now both together in Jesus. Third, they are “partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus.” Paul referred to Savior God promised to the Israelites throughout the Old Testament. Now, the Gentiles were partakers in this promise as well. And all of this was possible because of the gospel of Jesus. This mystery was never a mystery to God, but one He chose to reveal, to unveil, at this point in history.