Sunday, January 5, 2014

Ephesians 3:8 comments: the unsearchable riches of Christ

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;

Paul restates here his God-given mission to preach to the Gentiles (non-Jews) the gospel of Christ.

Galatians 2:7  But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; 8  (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)

Romans 15:15  Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God, 16  That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

In the next verses which are one long sentence, note verse 25.

Colossians 1:21  And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22  In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: 23  If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; 24  Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: 25  Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; 26  Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27  To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28  Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: 29  Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

Paul calls himself the, “least of all saints,” probably because he started as a persecutor and murderer of Christians of Jewish ethnicity.

He watched over the outer garments for those who stoned the martyr, Stephen, when his name was still Saul as Luke relates.

Acts 7:58  And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.

He persecuted Christians Luke tells us.

Acts 8:3  As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.

Acts 9:1 ¶  And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2  And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.

Paul himself admits his activity.

Galatians 1:13  For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:

Now, though, he preaches, “the unsearchable riches of Christ,” to the Gentiles. First, understand that there is God who created all things by Christ, who is also a part of God, being the visible image of the invisible God, the Word (what the Greeks knew as the Logos, the creative power behind all things in existence as it is not an impersonal force but a personal deity which is why John uses that word in his gospel) by which all things were made.

Second, understand that the God who created you requires that those who are in His presence in heaven in eternity be without sin, a sinlessness only He possesses.

Third, realize that only He can provide a ransom for the sinner, which we all are, to pay the sin debt we owe to Him so He came to earth and lived as one of us, died for our sins at our own hand, and rose from the dead justifying us legally before Himself.

Then, it is only by trusting in His righteousness and not our own, in His sacrifice and not our works, and in His grace and mercy and not our good intentions that we may have eternity with Him. (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3; Exodus 30:12; Mark 10:45; Romans 4:25; Romans 6:23)

An eternity with your Creator unspeakable in its joy (2 Corinthians 9:15; 12:4) unsearchable beyond our understanding (Psalm 145:3; Romans 11:3). As my wife, Beth, has pointed out, these are not about you seeing your loved ones whom you miss or being free from your infirmities or diseases but about being with the one who created you in fellowship and joy for time without end. You might see those you loved. You might never feel pain again. But, most important of all and what every Christian should be focused on, you will be with God and your time with Him will have no end.

If you trust Him now.

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