MONDAY, MAY 8
SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 3
As you read this chapter, you will find several references to something called a “mystery”. In the Bible a mystery is not something that can’t be known. It is something that is not known yet. It is, in many ways, like a sacred secret. But this particular mystery has been made known to us through the Holy Spirit inspiring Paul to write these words.
In verse 6, we discover that this mystery is about the Gentiles. A Gentile is anyone who is not a Jewish person. The mystery is that God is bringing Jew and Gentile, Jew and non-Jew, alike into His family. Galatians 3:28 says that from God’s perspective there is neither Jew nor Gentile. That doesn’t mean that He doesn’t know who has a Jewish ancestry and who doesn’t. It means that our ancestry doesn’t matter to Him. In God, through Jesus, we have a new identity in Christ. We are children of the one, true God.
The notion of Gentiles being included in the family of God is not actually new. In the Old Testament we read about how those of non-Jewish ancestry could be included in Jewish life. What is new now, however, is that God is putting Jews and Gentiles into one body (V. 6) that we know as the church.
If you will look at verse 10, you will see something most surprising. The mention of rulers and authorities in heavenly places is a reference to angelic beings, both holy angels as well as demons. Paul says that God uses the church to show His manifold wisdom to both holy angels as well as demons.
In other words, this means that when the church gathers to worship God, there is an unseen crowd of holy angels and demons that gathers to watch us. The reason they do that is to better understand the manifold wisdom of God.
Remember that angels, neither holy ones nor evil ones, are omniscient. They only know what they have seen and what they hear God say. In other words, they are fully aware of the reality of the creation because they were there when God spoke the universe into existence. But since the church was held as a divine secret throughout all the other generations (v. 5), they did not know about and did not understand what God was doing through the church.
So when we gather, they gather to watch. I suspect they are trying to figure out grace. I suspect they are trying to figure out being born again/saved. I suspect they are trying to figure out how folks like us can call God Father. I suspect they are trying to figure out what God is doing.
Verse 11 offers us this encouragement. All of this – the Jews and Gentiles being one family and the church of the redeemed – are all part of God’s eternal purpose.
Today, we can be grateful that God’s plan has always been God’s plan and will always be God’s plan. He is not caught off guard or unaware and then has to come up with a new strategy. Because He is omniscient, He has always known exactly what He was going to do and how we were going to be involved.
So, the next time you settle into your seat at church, stop for a moment. Remember. There literally are angels watching over you trying to figure all of this out.