ADMINISTRATOR OF THE MYSTERY
I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of His power. Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given to me to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery which for ages past was kept hidden in God who created all things (Eph. 3: 7-9).
How easy it would be to get lost in Paul’s long sentences and profound declarations. To understand what he was saying, we must go back to the basics of the gospel.
The mystery he was exposing was the simple fact that God’s intention was always to include the whole world in His offer of mercy. He began with the nation of Israel because He was preparing them to receive the Messiah through whom Hiss mercy would reach the world.
It was never God’s intention to exclude those who did not belong to Israel. He wanted His people to remain separate from the pagan nations so that He could nurture them in His ways. When He sent His Son into the world, He wanted His people to understand sin, sacrifice, covenant, mercy and grace through the types and shadows of the Old Covenant so that they would recognise Him and receive Him as their Messiah.
As he has already explained, the death of Jesus opened the door for the Gentiles to be reconciled to God and to be united with the Jews into one family of believers, with no barriers of colour, culture or language to separate them. Faith in Jesus as Lord overrode all other loyalties and created a new race of people who were citizens of God’s heavenly kingdom.
Paul saw himself as a custodian of this good news. While the other apostles took the message of Jesus to their own people, God assigned the task of preaching to the Gentiles to Paul. It was a costly commission. Paul suffered persecution at the hands of Jews and Gentiles but there was no price too high for obedience. Not only did he carry the message of Jesus to the Roman world at the risk of his life, but he also made it plain in his letters to the churches. Without these, we would still flounder in our understanding of the purpose and ramifications of the cross.
On the strength of His identity as the Son of God and in full view of the disgusting worship of the pagans, Jesus entrusted the responsibility of interpreting His yoke – His interpretation and application of the Torah (in which is the seed truths of the whole Bible) – to His disciples at Caesarea Philippi (Matt. 16: 19). Under the direction and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they would understand and explain the implications of His death to the people of the world. They would invite both Jew and Gentile into fellowship with the Father because of the forgiveness of sins He provided through His sacrifice.
Paul was well aware that his part in this commission was an act of God’s grace. Before he met Jesus on the Damascus road, he was an ardent supporter of Judaism, going as far as trying to eradicate the message of Jesus by eliminating His followers. It took a personal encounter with the risen Christ to change his mind and set his feet on this way – the way of Jesus to the Father.
He could do no other but obey this call and go to the ends of the earth with the message of grace that had rescued him from his fanatical unbelief, not matter how high the price because nothing could substitute for the mercy he had received in Christ Jesus. Not only had he received grace, but he had also been given the task of administering this grace to whoever would receive it regardless of who they were. Grace was God free gift to everyone through Christ. Paul wanted the whole world to know that the God who had extended grace to him would respond in mercy to anyone who would recognise and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
This confession, based on the conviction that Jesus is Lord – not some god of human imagination or the devil masquerading as God, is the door that opens the floodgates of God’s favour and blessing to whoever will receive Him. From a human perspective, all these words and promises don’t seem like much, but to those who have received Him and live in the glow of God’s love and favour, the difference that faith in Jesus makes, is remarkable.
Jesus had given His followers the legacy of His love, His joy and His peace – priceless gifts in a world of uncertainty, insecurity and fear. In the midst of a collapsing world economy, a corrupt and evil society and crumbling relationships, He is the solid rock on which those who trust in Him stand. He backs His promises with His incorruptible and unchanging character. When the chips are down, He secures those who trust in Him with His strong right hand.
He did not promise His followers a trouble-free life, unending good health or a limitless supply of money. Unfortunately, some have lured desperate people into faith in Jesus for disciples is of far greater value – His unconditional love and His permanent presence. And, with Him around, we cannot lose.
Keep free from the love of many and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? (Heb. 13: 5-6)
Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!
ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3, eBook 978-4828-0511-6
My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), a companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.
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