This grace was given to me —the least of all the saints—to proclaim to the Gentiles the incalculable riches of the Messiah, and to shed light for all about the administration of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things. This is so God’s multi-faceted wisdom may now be made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavens. This is according to His eternal purpose accomplished in the Messiah, Jesus our Lord (Eph. 3:8-11).
My pastor read this passage in church last Sunday. Hearing Paul say he proclaimed the “incalculable riches of the Messiah” affected me deeply. The riches of Jesus are incalculable. Words cannot do justice to the depths of spiritual reality in Him. Depths we have only dipped our toes into. I felt a renewed cry in my heart to share whatever of those depths I have plumbed. Jesus must be known as fully as we have grace to make Him known.
Shedding light “about the administration of the mystery hidden for ages in God” is another way of talking about the “incalculable riches of the Messiah.” From the beginning, God has had us in a process of revelation—making the incalculable riches and the mystery known. Paul participated in that revelation. First, by God revealing the riches of Christ to him; second, by sharing what he received. This desire burns in my heart as well.
This is not always easy. Sometimes it’s thankless. Paul suffered all kinds of things to advance the message of Christ. I have written before about my own discouragements. But as I read Paul’s words today, I thought, What if Paul decided there was no point in sharing Christ with the Ephesians? The Spirit of God wouldn’t be speaking life into my heart through Paul’s words. What a shame that would be.
Whether we see it or not, there is always purpose in speaking the word of God. His self-revelation endures forever. We speak God’s revelation so that “God’s multi-faceted wisdom may now be made known through the church.” The point of any teaching is so that the church may manifest the reality of Christ she knows. What a calling! We are to be the vehicle of God’s self-revelation. Christ revealed the Father; we reveal Christ (John 17:6; Gal. 1:15-16).
This is “according to His eternal purpose accomplished in the Messiah.” Let that sink in. God’s eternal purpose *was* accomplished in Jesus—past tense. We are not waiting for that purpose to be accomplished. We are not accomplishing what Jesus did not. God accomplished it. Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30).
God is revealing that accomplished, eternal purpose, to and through the church. Think about the difference between revealing something and finishing it yourself. A sculptor works on a marble masterpiece for years until it is exactly the image he wants. His heart is bursting with excitement to share what he has made. He covers the statue with a cloth and gathers everyone around it. His assistant pulls the corner of the cloth. It slides to the ground, and the sculptor’s jaw-dropping art is revealed.
The church is not the sculptor that designs and finishes the statue. We are the assistant that pulls the cloth to reveal what is hidden. Sometimes Christians talk as if we were finishing something for God. But this is a temptation and misunderstanding of our role. The work is finished. God wants to show His work through us.
Earlier in Ephesians, we are told that we are His workmanship, created in Christ for good works which God prepared beforehand for us to walk in (Eph. 2:10). Walking as we were designed in things laid out beforehand is not finishing; it is revealing. It is a perspective based in faith and rest. Too often Christians minister from a place of uncertainty and restless activity.
Jesus, show us your incalculable riches, the mystery of God, the accomplished purpose. Let us rest in, share, and manifest what is finished in Christ.