Midday Bible Study: Gospel 50

We’re experimenting with something for a couple of weeks: spreading our posts throughout the day instead of loading them up all at once. It was a little cleaner before but it tended to attract all the conversation to one post … so we’ll be doing our Bible study closer to the middle of the day for awhile. So check us early and then come back later.

The gospel of Christ is the gospel of peace, the gospel of making two — Gentiles and Jews — one new community of faith. So Paul in Ephesians 1. We turn to Eph 3:6, 8.

2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which
was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been
revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This
mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with
Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the
promise in Christ Jesus.

7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 8 Although
I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me:
to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and
to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for
ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His
intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God
should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly
realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord
. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

This is an amazing set of lines by Paul and provides insight into what Paul’s gospel is all about:

1. It is the grace of God at work in calling him.
2. It is the grace of God at work to unite Jews and Gentiles.
3. It is the grace of God as a mystery now made known — to unite Jews and Gentiles by grafting Gentiles into the Jewish people of God.
4. It is the grace of God at work in Christ.
5. It is the grace of God at work in the Church of Christ.

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  • Rebeccat

    I just came over here from the Third Way conversation and what struck me reading over this are a couple of things about how Paul says God makes Himself known:
    1st Paul says that the insight he has been given was not made known to men of previous generations. There are various passages in scriptures which seem to indicate that the revelation of God has been progressive and that there are things which God did not choose to make known in prior times. Could this be true today. Certainly, scripture isn’t about to be (nor should it be) added to. But are there new insights which God may choose to reveal today or in the future which have been hidden from those who came before. Is there any room in most Christian’s faith life for the idea that not only is our knowledge of God incomplete, but that God may with hold things until He sees fit to reveal them? (I’m not sure I’m communicating this idea well – my apologies.) If we do not make allowances for our incomplete knowledge of God, how likely are we to develop the tools we will need to evaluate those who claim to be given new insight?
    2nd: Verse 10 is really odd:
    “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.”
    What’s up with the “rulers and authorities in the HEAVENLY realms”? This is one of those verses which seems to hint at how much we don’t know. Hmmmmmm