Read Ephesians 3:1-13.
Paul is describing the revelation and ministry God gave to him. Paul was a preacher to the Gentiles, who are non-Jewish people. Up until the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry, the followers of God were a strictly Jewish club, so God’s message to Paul was quite groundbreaking. But it’s because of this revelation that we can also know the one true God.
In these verses, Paul tells about this ministry and revelation: by God’s grace the Gentiles can also come to faith in Jesus Christ. Other generations before this didn’t have this same open invitation; Paul was one of the first missionaries to the Gentiles. In the past, a Gentile would have to convert to Judaism in order to become God’s follower, but now everyone is able to come to know Jesus as Lord. Now the Gospel can come to everyone, so that all may be saved!
It is passages like this that strongly describe the driving purpose of the early church. Paul said, “I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power.” (verse 7) We are God’s servants called to preach and witness to His gospel. This is a gift of God’s grace, since we could never be worthy of this privilege, out of His great power. It is the power and grace of God that gives us the ability to live for Him and do His will; it’s not something we can just do ourselves when we feel like it. And when we honestly follow God, giving all to Him, we realize it’s the life we’ve always wanted but could never find ourselves.
“In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” (verse 12) It’s through Jesus we can now have a relationship with God. This is also by God’s grace and power. We have to be in a relationship with God for this Christian life to mean anything to us on any level deeper than our natural self. This relationship is also what fuels our passion and devotion to God. Living with God gives us freedom and confidence to approach God whenever we need Him, knowing He will hear us and He loves us.
When we live for God and seek His kingdom like He wants us to (all in, no turning back), He shows us Who He is. God satisfies every longing in us and fills us with His peace to the point we can’t help but overflow with His love. Our entire lives are changed because not one part of us is the same. Every spec of our old life is gone and replaced with this new creation He made us. Belief and faith in this are what makes the church God’s church. Without this surrender and relationship with God, we can never hope to truly make a lasting impact on people. This is the difference between Christians and non-Christians. God changes us and teaches us Himself. “This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.’” (Isaiah 48:17) So many people attend every Bible study, listen to every sermon, but never actually have a relationship with God. We don’t need more teachers; God is our teacher. We need to be closer to God, to actually listen to Him.
But the next verse in Isaiah is too true for so many Christians, “‘If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.’” (48:18) When we listen to God He expects us to obey. Maybe this is why so few are actually taught by God: you have to listen. It’s hard enough for some to focus on God and tune everything else out; on top of this, they also have to respond. But those who do find a life so full of the love of God, they can’t go back. God is just that amazing.
So in a time when people think that reviving the church means increasing membership and having the best activities, will we remember what actually makes the church so powerful? Having a relationship with God creates many things in a Christian, but three things are the most prominent: love, faith, and hope. These are the three things God says will never pass away, and the church needs to be full of them, not for the church’s sake, but because of our relationship with God. Only through God’s grace and power can these manifest in us. These are things that, when it comes down to it, cannot be faked. They have to be genuine, from God.
Read Ephesians 3:1-13 again.
Lord thank You for Your love for us and this relationship and calling You’ve given us! Thank You for Your grace and power! Please help us honestly want to know You. Please don’t let us settle for anything less than You. And please help us be Your church, seeking Your kingdom and Your honor. Please let You be glorified! In Jesus’ Name i pray, Hallelujah! Hallelujah! King Jesus Christ! Amen!