2010), 188. Put in these terms, this means that the present "civilization" we are living in secular life, with its politics, its education, its legislative system, its reportage of news events can be likened to a cocoon, clinging lifelessly to the branch of history. A steward was a servant to whom a certain responsibility was committed, certain goods were given, that he might dispense them, might give them out to other people. Would that we had the faith of this mighty apostle who understood so clearly that Caesar was not in control; Jesus is. Ephesians 3:9 Context. There is something about human beings which causes us to be fascinated by something hidden, secret, by cryptic truth which needs to be discovered and revealed. 9; 5:32; 6:19, Col 1:26-27; 2:2; 2 Thess 2:7; 1 Tim 3:9; 3:16). We continue to make automobiles even after they have filled the highways and poisoned the air. "It was made known to me by revelation." Why don't they run around on four legs? We don't know what to do about these things. But we know that one of these days, when the sun begins to shine, all these dead-looking cocoons will begin to break open, and there will emerge a beautiful creature, designed no longer for life on the lower level, crawling along over every obstacle, but able to rise above them, able to spread its wings and fly as an expression of beauty and joy throughout the world and nature. Systems, 1997). Also, try to pick out the word “mystery” in these verses and see how Paul is defining this term. It will also show all people that the gospel of Christ is the means of genuine ethnic and social reconciliation. Technic…, Those Magi were actually astrologers from the east…, Good question, actually. God commissioned him. But it has now been revealed, Paul says, "to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit." It consistently refers to something previously concealed but presently revealed. He starts out to say one thing but then is captured by the truth of something else he is going to say. 1. The answer is, in Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul describes the greatest mystery of life to the Ephesians in these words: For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles -- assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. He may have to do that with some of us, too. He already picks up that theme of mystery in Ephesians 1: 9 and 10 where he says that in Christ all things have been summed up. It is not new to us -- we have been discussing and discovering aspects of it all along in this letter. The word mystery occurs about twenty-eight times in the New Testament, twenty-one of which are found in Paul’s writings (six in Ephesians). Ephesians 3, Verses 1-4 ¶“ 1 I Paul am the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles. The words apply to the type, as well as to the Antitype. (32) This is a great mystery. So it was because of this great message that he was a prisoner. The reason is obvious when you read his letters. There is always an element we don't understand. This refers not only to the fact that his arrest had come about because he was preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, but also to the fact that it benefited the Gentiles. Because when we are still living in the old creation those things are inevitable. Christians have the answer to the ecological crisis. We can learn how to handle our environment, even, on the basis of this new creation yet today. So when Peter and James and John and the other apostles began to compare notes with Paul, they were astonished that this apostle, this man who had been the persecutor of the church and the chief murderer of the saints in Jerusalem, understood not only the doctrine they had been taught, but also the very events they had gone through. —Rather, This mystery is a great one. (Ephesians 1:9-10 RSV). Hoehner says, “Paul’s mission [had] no place for secrecy; it [was] to be openly shared.” In doing so, he shared something that had been hidden from previous generations entirely. This is what Paul says we Christians are -- beginning with apostles, and including everyone who names the name of Christ -- we are servants of Christ, and stewards, responsible servants, given the responsibility of dispensing the mysteries of God, of helping people understand these great secrets which explain life and make it possible to solve the difficulties and problems of our human affairs. Gen 2:24). writings (Rom 11:25; 16:25; 1 Cor 2:7; 4:1; 13:2; 14:2; 15:51; Eph 1:9; 3:3-4, Ephesians, Jewish scruples and prejudices were terribly offended by the fact that Paul had the nerve, the effrontery, to say to the Jews that the Gentiles were received by God equally as they, that the Gentiles could have equal standing before him. Grove: InterVarsity, 1997), 782. This is the only way these problems can be worked out. —The reference is to the brief notice in Ephesians 1:10-14, and to the further explanation in Ephesians 2:11-22. Men and women today can live on the basis of this new creation. And we can live in that new creation right now. They mobbed him and would have lynched him on the spot had it not been for the intervention of the Roman guard. Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words (Grand Think of this! The quantum theory, upon which much of modern physics is based, and which has unleashed the whole realm of nuclear fission, has at its heart, say the physicists, a principle of indeterminism, a hidden principle. In the closing verses of Romans 16 there is a very clear statement on the unveiling of this mystery: Now to him who is able to strengthen you, according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed and through the prophetic writings [i.e., the Scriptures] is made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith -- to the only wise God be glory for evermore through Jesus Christ! But it isn't over. So it is obvious, from what the apostle says here in Ephesians, that God needed to prepare human beings for the unfolding of this secret. It consists of this great truth: That the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and joint partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. So he begins to bring it in ahead of time. That is the first thing he wants them to know. I have already written to you briefly about this. Therefore the understanding of this great mystery is the key to the ultimate solutions for which men are seeking today. He is the One who opens, and no man shuts, who shuts, and no man opens, who orders, and his will is carried out. His concern for these people was such that he would have gone to them had he been free. Finally, the apostle touches the matter of power: "partakers of the promise." And God understands this. What is the "great mystery" that the apostle Paul refers? A little was revealed in the past, but the great secret was kept hidden. believing Jews and Gentiles are now one in the body of Christ.” Hoehner, Harold The Mystery of His Will—Ephesians 1:9-10 Juli Camarin March 24, 2015 Ephesians 1. Paul asked the Ephesians to pray "also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel" (Ephesians 6:19)." The second thing Paul says about himself, so that they might understand what he was going through, is that he was a steward of God's grace. Did you ever wonder why caterpillars crawl on the ground? Therefore, live life as members of a new race," is his exhortation. We do not know anything fully. Why are there so many family breakups? When they come to Christ, Jews and Gentiles together are joint heirs, joint members of one body, and joint partakers of the promise. They could not understand why the mighty apostle had to be a prisoner -- limited, unable to come to them in their need as a growing young church -- and why all communication with him had to be by correspondence. But Paul says this is not true. And there is much yet to be learned, even in this realm. [/q] When Paul spoke to the Jewish mob in his own defense, after he was arrested in the temple courts, the thing which triggered their renewed ire was the word Gentile in his message. If we begin to understand what Christ is, who he is, what he does, how we can lay hold of him -- we will begin to see the solutions of these problems unfold, as they are indeed unfolding in many of our lives. God had committed a certain responsibility to him. It is why the Scriptures say, "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing; but the glory of kings is to search it out," (Proverbs 25:2 RSV). There is no way we can break through this law. W. Ephesians, Kindle ed. The origin of μυστήριον is obscure. with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research  This study will explore the meaning and significance of this concept in Ephesians. And I wonder if sometime the Lord isn't going to lock me up to give me a chance to write some of the things he has laid on my heart. I don't know how you think of yourself, but I know that it helps greatly to personalize these great truths, to remember that this is where God wants the application finally to be made -- right home into your hearts, into your lives, into your families. Therefore, eventually, he was remanded to the care of the palace guard, the personal bodyguard of the emperor. When Einstein discovered his theory of relativity, very few people grasped it or understood it. Paul in Ephesians 6:18b-20 (ESV) writes: [q] To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. Amen. Paul tells us, "All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future, all are yours;" (1 Corinthians 3:21b-22 RSV). 1For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—. The profound mystery of becoming one flesh and giving up our individual freedom and being supernaturally bound with our spouse highlights the profound mystery of becoming one with Christ and being supernaturally bound to him.  Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Basic Theology (Chicago: Here he is touching the whole problem of man and his universe, man living in a natural world, the dominion (or lack of it) of man over that world, and the reason why we cannot solve our ecological riddles. 4 By reading my letters you will understand the mystery of Christ as I do” (Ephesians 3:1-4). In Verse 34, Matthew tells us this: All this Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed he said nothing to them without a parable. This Paul did, even in letters like this one to the Ephesians b. The paragraph falls very simply into two divisions. In this expositional study of Ephesians 1:9, Nathan Johnson gives an overview of how Paul talks about the “mystery” in Scripture and then gives clarity as to what it is and how knowing and living in the reality of this mystery will change our lives – for this mystery is … Why is there so much hatred and resentment and bitterness and malice? For permission to use this content, please review He runs out of language, is unable to put what he wants to say into the words at his disposal. The reader should do much homework on this subject, MYSTERY. What was the ministry? You will never find that taught in the Old Testament in those terms. Scholars are not exactly sure what he meant by that. Ephesians 5:32–33 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. In fact, perhaps the best definition of this word mystery is Paul… In Colossians Paul puts it this way: "Christ in you, the hope of glory," (Colossians 1:27b). Sometimes it is difficult for those who do not read Greek to see how Paul builds his letters. In this next sentence he gives us a brief summary of this great mystery: When you read this you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that is, how the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Rather, break loose and be free in Jesus Christ.". Here was a man who spoke with direct authority, commissioned by the Lord Jesus himself. It is not a period of time at all; it is a responsibility to dispense something, a stewardship. So he was writing to settle their fears and to show them what it was all about. He had been arrested because he was charged by the Jews with sedition, or treason, against the emperor. (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1993), 622. All rights reserved. Our whole modern era was brought about by the discovery of a secret which was hidden in nature until the time when Einstein stumbled upon a few hints of it. 4In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God's holy apostles and prophets. Ephesians 5:32, KJV: "This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church." (Matthew 13:34 RSV). We don't know how to break loose from this syndrome. Here he begins to describe in full detail the great mystery which he had devoted his life to propagating around the world. The word mystery occurs about twenty-eight times in the New Testament, twenty-one of which are found in Paul’s writings (six in Ephesians). This is what gives Paul his authority. It is the mystery of the goal toward which God is moving in human affairs; therefore, it encompasses space, time, matter -- all of life." In conclusion, it will summarize the concept of “mystery” within Ephesians, offering implications and applications for believers in churches today. Ralph P. Martin, and Daniel G. Reid, Dictionary of Paul and His Letters  Remarkably, Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, through the following six references, reveals such knowledge which would have remained unknown otherwise. "Stop going on in the old way. Many writers -- thoughtful, perceptive men -- are sitting down and trying to analyze where we have gone wrong, and why cannot we understand what to do. God revealed this mystery to Paul and to other apostles and prophets as well (Eph 3:5), who would reveal it to the church (3:3). When we begin to "walk in the Spirit," as we understand what that phrase really means, then we can love, forgive, begin to reach out to others.  William D. Mounce, Mounce’s This is why Dr. Francis Schaeffer has written a book called Pollution and the Death of Man, and related this subject to the Christian answer. 2Surely you have heard about the administration of God's grace that was given to me for you, 3that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. Despite Paul’s privileged role in publicizing the mystery, he had been imprisoned for his gospel activity. This is a tremendous lesson to us, who sometimes become worried and anxious about what the political powers-that-be are doing in the world today. God commissioned him. And he sums it up in these words: "the mystery of Christ" -- Jesus Christ, at the heart of all things. Paul himself, and all the other apostles, would deny this. All Right Reserved. You are a new creation in Jesus Christ. What we are to inherit from God, ultimately, is the world. This is what began at Bethlehem. God had to prepare this race to be able to grasp that fact and to be ready to believe it. © 2018 - ShepherdThoughts.com. There is the mystery: The first thing he says about it is that it has been hidden in the past. He was Caesar's prisoner. But, as we have already seen, it was the Lord Jesus who began to unveil it. It is The Second Law of Thermodynamics, if you want the scientific term for it, the law of entropy. You may live your life as a member of the new creation -- in the midst of the old, but not part of it any more -- "no longer strangers, no longer foreigners," says the apostle. It states that we never can discover fully the truth about anything; there is an element of hidden information about every subject we go into. That is the brief statement he had written to these Ephesian Christians, and to which he refers. So perhaps the reason the Lord Jesus kept him a prisoner was that he might have time to write. In fact, Paul’s point at the end of this passage is to compare human marriages to the relationship between our Savior Jesus Christ and His Bride, the Church. The profound mystery of becoming one flesh and giving up our individual freedom and being supernaturally bound with our spouse highlights the profound mystery of becoming one with Christ and being supernaturally bound to him. The third element of his stewardship, Paul says, is that it has given him great insight: "... the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly." In verses 3-6 Paul again talks about the “mystery of Christ”. This is particularly true of this passage, because Paul begins "For this reason ..." -- but he doesn't give the reason toward which he is moving until Verse 13! God has set his Son at the heart of all things. This insight into God’s eternal redemptive plan had never been disclosed before. Married to Sarah and father to five sons and one daughter, I shepherd Faith Baptist Church in Queens, New York City. The epistle to the Ephesians reveals a remarkable use of the Greek noun μυστήριον (mystērion), rendered “mystery” or “secret” in most English versions. Paul discusses a “mystery” four times in Ephesians.  Apart from Paul making this connection, we would never have considered it. (32) This is a great mystery. It is mystery which makes life entrancing, fascinating. Paul tells us that, “beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great.” Then he records what may be an early hymn of the church: “He [Jesus] appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory” (1 Timothy 3:16). We know they are absolutely essential to our existence, but we don't know what they are. In verse 2 Paul refers to his ministry to the Ephesians. a. hidden from unbelievers but revealed to believers. In Christ there is no longer any distinction. I don't know if anyone has told "The Four Spiritual Laws" to a caterpillar, but it would be interesting to do so, because the first point would be, "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life." Ephesians 3:3 NASB. (1 Corinthians 4:1 RSV). The Apostle Paul describes the greatest mystery of life to the Ephesians in these words: For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles -- assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. This is what Paul said was given to him. What is interesting is that the word "mystery," in Paul's writings, occurs in close proximity to the word "stewardship" that Paul used in verse 2. Now we come to the actual mystery itself. And this creation has already begun! He would have preached to them and taught them directly from the Word, but never would have had time to write it down. And even then he had not fully revealed this mystery. It appears This was hidden from them. This is the great mystery. A striking example of this is found in First Corinthians 11, where he writes about the Lord's supper. Knowledge of this mystery is a result of God’s grace to believers revealed to the church. This is the struggle of humanity which is answered by our becoming "joint-members of one body." Our Lord, then, began to unfold this mystery, to tell us things that were hidden from the very foundation of the world. See also Colossians 1:25 and Galatians 2:7. Who gave Paul this ministry? Two other passages in the New Testament use the word in this sense, Colossians 1:24-29 and Rom.  Thielman, Frank. Then all hell broke loose again. This mindset will enable us to manifest our spiritual reconciliation with Christ and one another in a practical, visible way. I hope I'll learn from the lesson of Paul in this respect. THE MYSTERY WAS REVEALED EXCLUSIVELY TO PAUL, THE PRISONER. Do not forget that the reason Paul was charged by the Jews with sedition against the emperor was because they were so angry that he would carry any message from God to the Gentiles. Paul writes to the Ephesians, “This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 3:6). Everything that lies in a caterpillar's path is a horrible obstacle over which it must painfully crawl. This is a picture of life in the flesh, the natural human life. "A people who sat in darkness saw a great light," (Isaiah 9:2 RSV). Ralph P. Martin and If you read that as merely theological language, you have missed the import of what he is saying -- that every bit of life finds its final solution in the person and being of the Lord Jesus himself. 2010), 194. He understood everything they did, knew everything Jesus had taught them in the days of his flesh. Thanks for asking! So here he was in Rome, a prisoner of Caesar, awaiting trial before Nero. that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. This is an apt description of the way we live our lives as natural human beings. He saw him as John did in the book of Revelation -- as sitting on his throne, holding the reins of government in his hands. Paul reveals a profound (“great”) correlation between the intimate union of a husband and wife and the union of Christ with the church (cf. And that light has been reaching out to the world ever since, bringing men out of the old into the new. 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Does anyone else have problems with chewing and poo-ing at the same time?