In the book of Ephesians, written by the apostle Paul, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is revealed as not a new idea, but rather a part of God’s plan since before the foundation of the world. However, there is one surprising aspect of the Gospel that was previously a mystery but is now revealed. What is this mystery and what does it mean for God’s people? Let’s explore Paul’s answer in Ephesians.
The Unexpected Mystery
Before delving into the mystery, let’s take a moment to think about what we may have assumed it to be. Many have believed that the Jews were expecting a physical kingdom, where the Messiah would restore the land to them and they would live under his reign forever. However, the mystery lies in something deeper than physical versus spiritual expectations.
According to Paul in Ephesians, the mystery is this: “The Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” The unexpected revelation is that the people of God who would inherit His promises include both Jews and Gentiles. This element of God’s master plan was truly surprising and not anticipated by His chosen people.
Transforming from Death to Life
The first three chapters of Ephesians focus on the blessings that Gentile Christians have received through Christ. Prior to their faith in Jesus, they were described as being “dead in their sins and trespasses.” While some interpret this as spiritual death, the word “spiritually” is not explicitly used in Scripture to describe death. Instead, it is more fitting to understand that the Ephesians were condemned in their sins, with death having a claim on them. Without Christ, they would have remained without hope and destined for eternal separation from God.
However, through faith and baptism into Jesus, the Ephesians were granted life, not metaphorically but in a literal sense. Because of Jesus, death no longer held power over them. When Jesus returns, they will be raised to live forever in His kingdom.
Royalty in Christ
In addition to the imagery of death and resurrection, Paul introduces the concept of royalty in Ephesians. By placing their faith in Jesus, the Gentile Christians became part of God’s ruling class. They were exalted to heavenly places with Jesus, both in the present and as part of the future promise. Paul highlights how they were once strangers and aliens but have now been reconciled to God through the blood of Christ. They are no longer outsiders but fellow citizens with the saints and members of God’s household.
Furthermore, Paul describes the believers as the temple of God, where the Holy Spirit dwells. This imagery emphasizes their significance as instruments of God’s presence and purpose on earth.
Living a Worthy Life
The first three chapters of Ephesians lay the foundation for the practical application that follows. As Paul transitions in chapter four, he appeals to the Gentile Christians to live in a manner worthy of their calling as part of God’s royal family. They are no longer Gentiles but have become part of the new Israel, the new creation. To secure their inheritance, they must live as people transformed by the Gospel.
In our own lives, if we desire to be part of God’s royal family, the new creation, we too must “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which we have been called.” As followers of Christ, we are no longer identified by our past, but as new creation people. Our conduct and character should reflect this identity if we hope to inherit the promises God has made to His people.
Ephesians reveals the mystery of the Gospel, which is the inclusion of both Jews and Gentiles as heirs of God’s promises through Christ. This revelation brings transformation from death to life and positions believers as part of God’s ruling class. We are called to live in a manner worthy of our calling, as new creation people destined to possess the inheritance promised by God.
Remember, love abounds from both me and God.