Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Ephesians | Session 15 | 3:9-13

In our study today from Ephesians 3:9-13, we see Paul stating that his purpose in life was to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery to the extent that even the principalities and powers in heavenly places would know, the phrase faith of him, and his desire that they should not not feel sorry for him, but realize that everything that he was going through was actually for them.
Verse 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:  Interestingly, translations differ regarding the translation of the fellowship of the mystery. The English Standard Version translates it plan of the mystery. The New American Standard translates it administration of the mystery. The Revised Version translates it dispensation of the mystery

Paul's ministry statement here is twofold. To share the gospel of grace with was committed to his trust. And, to make all men see the fellowship of the mystery concerning Jew and Gentile in one new man (the Body of Christ), which had been hid in God from the beginning. One commentator said that the mystery was hidden from Satan so that he would go through with the crucifixion. In other words, if he had known the mystery that lay on the other side, the salvation of the Gentiles, he would not have pushed for it (1 Corinthians 2:6-8). 

Verse 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,  Now everyone knows the manifold wisdom of God regarding Jew and Gentile. Now even the principalities and powers in heavenly places know. Some commentators infer that this is speaking about earthly rulers and powers, however, it clearly says that these are in heavenly places. He will talk about these again in Ephesians 6:12. He is saying that now, even the heavenly realm knows. Again, I reference 1 Corinthians 2:6-8. I am reminded of what Peter said in 1 Peter 1:10-12. 

F.F. Bruce said, "The accomplishment of this eternal purpose of God’s has not in view only those who enter into the good of it on this earth. The triumph of his grace in overcoming an otherwise insurmountable barrier and uniting the two sections of mankind in Christ holds instruction for the inhabitants of the celestial realms." He also mentioned 1 Corinthians 11:10 as a proof text. 

The manifold wisdom of God has the idea of intricacy, complexity, or great beauty. 

Verse 11: According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:  The dispensation of grace has always been in God's eternal purpose. That doesn't mean that God overruled man's will, but that he knew. Again, the message of the Twelve was always known, but the message of Paul was unique, but in God's eternal purpose. 

Verse 12: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. Notice the boldness and access that we now have is the result of the faith of him. It is our faith in his faith that brings about salvation (Philippians 3:9; Romans 3:22; Galatians 2:16; Galatians 2:20) If it were not for his faith, ours would not matter. Sadly, other translations totally miss this. ESV our faith in him (cf. above verses) NIV through faith in him NAS through faith in him Believe or not the NET gets it right when it accurately translates because of Christ's faithfulness. 

Verse 13: Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.  This is a reference back to verse 1. In other words, he is saying, "Do not feel sorry for me." The verse literally means, don't faint, or be discouraged by my trials for you, because they are to your glory. In other words, all that he went through was for them. He said something similar to the Colossians in Colossians 1:24.

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