In Eph 3:1-12, Paul writes about how he came to know and how others now know the mystery, “that the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body,” with Jews [Eph 3:6]. If you will remember the prior lesson, Paul disclosed to the Gentiles how they had become “fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God… built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets… builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit,” [Eph 2:11-22]. This had been a mystery until God made it known. Here’s how the mystery was made known.
The mystery had been hid in God – Eph 3:9, 11 – from the beginning of the world, the mystery that Gentiles and Jews would be one in the body of Christ was hid in God. He knew it, but no one else did. This was “his eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord,” [Eph 2:11]. We can see evidence that God had all this planned eternally in verses like Rev 13:8; Eph 1:4; Gen 2:24; Eph 5:30-32; and so forth. He hid his purpose from everyone.
Then the mystery was revealed to Paul – Eph 3:3 – the first person to understand this mystery was Paul. And the only way he understood it is that God revealed it to him, [Gal 1:11-12; Acts 9:15; Acts 22:17-22]. Paul received a number of things from God by revelation [2 Cor 12:7; Acts 26:16].
Then the mystery was revealed to the apostles and prophets – Eph 3:5-6 – notice that “in other ages (it) was not made known unto the sons of men.” Paul was just reiterating that until God revealed the mystery to him, no one but God knew it. But “now,” Paul wrote, it is “revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.” God revealed it to Paul; then the Spirit revealed it to the apostles and prophets [Acts 10:34-11:18].
Then the mystery was made known to the principalities and powers – Eph 3:10 – even the principalities and powers [Eph 6:12] now know the mystery, “the manifold wisdom of God.” It was made known to them “by the church.” These powers know that there is a spiritual body, made up of saved Jews and Gentiles, over which Jesus Christ is the head [Eph 1:20-23]. It reaches all the way from where we are on earth to “far above,” [Eph 1:21] them. I’m sure thankful to be in the church.
Now the mystery is known to us – Eph 3:1-2, 3-4, 7-9 – we know about the mystery through Paul. It was given to him to give to us [Eph 3:1-2]. We read about it in Paul’s epistles [Eph 3:3-4]. We hear about it through the preaching of the gospel [Eph 3:7-9].
Paul wrote and we preach that, by the gospel, we are fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ [Eph 3:6]. We preach the unsearchable riches of Christ [Eph 3:8]. Here is a link to our radio broadcast on The Unsearchable Riches of Christ.
Conclusion: Eph 3:12 – through the faith of Jesus Christ, because we are together in his body, we have boldness and access with confidence to the Father [Eph 2:18] and his throne of grace [Heb 4:16] where “we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand,” [Rom 5:2]. Praise the Lord that this mystery was made known.