Thursday, February 25, 2021

History-Changing Mystery

"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" (Ephesians 3:10).

Not only is the mystery (the secret of God) published by a prisoner, but it is also published by a man who is “less than the least of all God’s people” (Ephesians 3:8). Yet the mystery itself is “the unsearchable riches of Christ,” which is made known to the greatest powers in the creation (vv. 9–10). The contrast is important and instructive.

First of all, the mystery consists of riches—riches of wisdom. God had given wisdom in the Old Testament period, but with the completion of the Bible, the fullness of wisdom is now published. God had kept the riches of the mystery locked up in the tabernacle and temple, and nobody but the priests were allowed to go in. Now the way of access is wide open and all God’s people are invited in.

But for us to receive these riches, we must receive them from a prisoner, despised and rejected of men, “less than the least.” God works in mysterious ways, and it is often the person who has the least outward glory who has the most wisdom to offer. Very often the most faithful churches are small, struggling groups that have nothing to show for themselves. Yet, it is just such churches that often wind up proclaiming the mystery of God before the “rulers and authorities.”

The church, regardless how humble her estate, proclaims God’s truth before the greatest powers in creation. And that proclamation changes the world. It alters history. It moves the kingdom toward its grand fulfillment.

What are these powers we deal with through the church? First of all, the “rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms” can refer to the political and social rulers of humanity, for the expression heavenly realm can refer to the estate of power and majesty that surrounds kings and other potentates. Paul anticipated speaking before Nero, for instance. But, second, these rulers and authorities are angelic beings who in some mysterious way administer the world under God’s command. Some are fallen angels. The faithfulness of the church defeats these demonic powers and encourages the righteous angels in their work.

Maybe you don’t think your life and your work count for much. Unseen by you, “powers and authorities” are observing you. Your life and worship count as part of God’s great history-reversing plan. God has promised, we must believe. Be encouraged.