Waking with The Word | Ephesians 3:8-10
:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; :9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: :10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
I want to apologize for the long break in our devotions. Churches have been allowed to resume here in Uganda and we have been busy reorganizing and getting back into our new routine.
Today I want us to look at the words I have highlighted in red. These words speak of different times and remind us of the second verse of our chapter: :2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
This word dispensation, I believe, deals with periods of time and more specifically God's revelation to man throughout the dispensations of time. My aim today is not to push dogmatic beliefs of dispensationalism but rather to point out Paul's understanding of God's revelation to him compared to God's revelation in times past.
Paul starts of by saying that God has given him grace to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ amongst the gentiles. This idea of God reaching out to the gentile nations isn't one that is a mystery to us because it was revealed to Paul and written down in the scripture and has been preached now for centuries but this was absolutely a mystery to people he was writing to and a mystery to the church in the first century. Now this was no mystery to God or even a plan B but Paul tells us that from the beginning of the world this mystery has been hid in God. Yes, God was hiding this, if you don't believe this to be true read what Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 13:10-11
:10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? :11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
God had this plan of salvation for all man in His heart from even before the foundations of the world. This mystery was revealed to Paul and Paul is now sharing his revelation with the Ephesian believers and me and you as well. Which brings us to verse ten where he says "To the intent that now." The Mystery was revealed to Paul and thus it is reveal to all believers who will read the writings of Paul. Paul also covers this idea in Chapter one, He starts off before the foundations of the world, then moves to " in the dispensation of the fullness of time" and then closes the chapter with after that a mans believes. This idea of dispensations is one that needs to be understood. If we never see how God has transitioned His revelation throughout the ages then we will fall into the mistake of looking for prophets or dreams or visions, all means of revelation from a different time when men didn't have the full revelation of God, The Scripture.
Lastly and we'll be done, the way I think of Paul is in this manner. What Moses was to the Israelites in the Torah (first five books of the Bible) Paul is to the believers in the church; then and now as well. God revealed to Moses His plan for the Israelite people; receiving special revelation which He penned down and that revelation was referred back to for thousands of years and until this day. That revelation dealt specifically with the affairs of the Hebrew nation and how it was to operate. Paul's writings serve the same purpose in the church that Moses writings served in the nation of Israel. God revealed to Paul mystery's for the intention that He would write them down and they would referred back to until the end of the church age, or as Paul said in Romans 11:25 "...until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in." Now God's revelation to Paul doesn't make obsolete his revelation to Moses or any other of the authors God inspired to write portions of scripture but it is built on and fulfills past revelation. That's why Paul said that all scripture is profitable for doctrine. The difference between Paul's revelation and Moses' is that I cannot take the words of Moses and apply them in the church age "as is" we read Moses with the understanding that He is speaking to the Jewish nation. We read the Prophets in the same light, that they were prophesying to Israel but the Words of Paul can and should be applied "as is." Paul is speaking to people in the Church age, He is speaking to believers, He is speaking to you and me and we don't have to season our reading with caution to who is being spoken to, He is speaking to believers in the church age. This Grace was given to Him and thus given to us through Paul that we might understand the manifold wisdom of God. I encourage you to study more into the idea of dispensationalism, my only caution is to warn you that people to often fall into error when they go to the extreme in this method of study. Causing them to render portions of scripture useless to them because the believe it was not written for them. Bear in mind Paul's words in the study of the dispensations and they will keep you out of the ditch of error.
1Tim 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
According to the riches of His Grace!!