Bible Study from Calvary Chapel Newberg
with Tom Fuller
The Mystery of God Revealed
My almost four year old granddaughter and I were looking for something yesterday. We weren?t sure where it was and she said ?It?s a mystery! I love solving mysteries!? I too love a good mystery, especially mystery stories?seeing clues to a crime and trying to figure out ?who done it.? In a very real way, God?s purpose in the universe was a mystery for a long time. Before the resurrection of Jesus, God laid out clues as to what His ultimate plan was about. People tried to figure them out but no one did. One of the big clues was someone first referred to as ?the seed? in Genesis 3. This ?seed? would crush the serpent?s head that had caused mankind to rebel against God. Later He was called ?The Prophet? (Deut 18:15) and then the One anointed with the Spirit (1 Samuel 2:35). That word in Hebrew is where we get ?Messiah?, or Christ. He was also called a ?Savior? (Isaiah 63:8). But no one guessed, though the clues as to His birth and His ministry are scattered throughout the Tanakh.
What we like about mysteries is their resolution. The mystery of God?s plan has a resolution as well: Jesus Christ. That?s what we see in verses 9-12 of Ephesians 1. And the revelation of the mystery is not only that everything points to Jesus, but that you also point to Him and are in Him in a way that is at the same time wonderful and baffling.
Jesus, in His high priestly prayer in John 17 said this:
John 17:21 ?May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me.? It is a union where you retain your individuality, yet are joined with God?s life. As we will see, that?s the other part of the mystery revealed: that you are the beneficiary in God?s will.
As we?ve seen in this protracted praise of God in verses 3-14, through Jesus (Dr. Richard Booye):
- He has advantaged us in His dimension. 3
- He has selected us for transformation. 4
- He has adopted us into His family. 5
- He has ransomed us from our previous destiny. 7-8
Now we see the purpose of all of this:
?Mystery? isn?t about hiding something, but revealing it. Musterian. (Used 27 tines in NT and 21 of these by Paul). A revealed reality unknown until after the resurrection. God ?made known? that His plan before creation was that Jesus would make the universe run the way God intended and remake us in the process.
?That He planned in Him.? The word there means: ?to set before? and can mean ?to resolve.? So God?s mystery resolves itself around Jesus.
Heb. 1:1 ?Long ago God spoke to the fathers by the prophets at different times and in different ways. 2 In these last days, He has spoken to us by His Son. God has appointed Him heir of all things and made the universe through Him.?
?Administration of the days of fulfillment? basically means that at some point in time, God is going to fulfill all of His plans. When He ?administers? this fulfillment, it is all going to be around Jesus.
?Days of fulfillment? is not the Greek word chronos, which means the counting of time, but Kairos: appropriate time, like ripeness. Right now His kingdom is underground?living in the hearts and minds of those who belong to Him. But when everything is ready, that kingdom will be very visible, will never end, and you?ll be a vital part of it.
?To bring everything together? is the idea of summing up. Paul used this word in Romans 13:9 where the Law is summed up in the command to love your neighbor. So everything in the universe, when added together, ends up coming to the conclusion that Jesus is Lord. The word also has the meaning of ?the main point.? So the main point of the universe is also all about Jesus.
?All things? probably refers to God?s creation?animate and inanimate, which is going to be united under Christ. ?Heaven? then refers to God?s dimension, and ?earth? to the realm of matter.
An interesting idea (posited by Robert O?Brian in his ?Letter to the Ephesians? Eerdmans 1999) is that the fall created an actual rupture in the universe that Christ, in His death on the cross, is healing (see Colossians 1:20-22). (?Empath??)
11 - 12
Verses 11 and 12 show that the people who looked forward to the Messiah in Old Testament days, are united with us who have heard the gospel.
For instance: Psalm 37:18: ?The LORD watches over the blameless all their days, and their inheritance will last forever.?
You could also translate this phrase as ?we were given our portion in Him.? What is that portion?
John 17:3 ?This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent?Jesus Christ.?
Eternal life, our inheritance, is a relationship. And it is the most wonderful inheritance you could ever imagine! When you think about an inheritance, it is usually about money or property. Something someone else has amassed during their life is given to you upon their death. In this case, the inheritance you receive is that you get to share in the life that God has amassed for you?life that is full of contentment, joy, peace, satisfaction, meaning and purpose.
The idea here could be that Jewish men and women were the first to receive Jesus as their Messiah. We Gentiles also get to inherit Him, but the fact that He revealed Himself first to the Jews and some came to Him, brings praise and glory to the Lord.
Matt. 15:24 He replied, ?I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.?
Romans 1:16 ?For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.?
But just to provide another view: Some feel that ?we? refers to Paul and those with him, and ?you? refers to the Ephesians.
So how should we respond to this?
Faith in Jesus is not a man-made sentiment. It is a God-given reality.
The kingdom may be underground, but you are a part of the resistance to the ruler of this age and are the vanguard for a coming king and everlasting kingdom.
Your inheritance is a relationship with a person, but remember that His inheritance is you. John 10:29 says that the Father has given us to Him. Ephesians 5:12 says that Jesus plans to present the spotless bride to Himself. So enjoy Him and let Him enjoy rich fellowship with you.