Title: Ephesians- overview of 3:1-9; The Secret of the Ages, part 9 (The OT points to the perfection to come).
EPH 3:8 To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ,
EPH 3:9 and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things;
EPH 3:10 in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.
There was only one hope for Israel to enter into the kingdom of God - the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world.
The perfection of the kingdom of God would consist in the removal of all the evil which sin has wrought. All the people in the kingdom would be cleansed. This was prophesied by Ezekiel.
It wouldn’t be water that would cleanse us in the church or any saint from any dispensation, but the blood of Christ would do it, meaning His substitutionary spiritual death for us.
The unfolding of prophetic revelation in the OT showed that the King would conquer by suffering.
PSA 22:1 My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?
Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.
PSA 22:2 O my God, I cry by day, but Thou dost not answer;
And by night, but I have no rest.
PSA 22:3 Yet Thou art holy,
O Thou who art enthroned upon the praises of Israel.
PSA 22:4 In Thee our fathers trusted;
They trusted, and Thou didst deliver them.
PSA 22:5 To Thee they cried out, and were delivered;
In Thee they trusted, and were not disappointed.
PSA 22:6 But I am a worm, and not a man,
A reproach of men, and despised by the people.
PSA 22:7 All who see me sneer at me;
They separate with the lip, they wag the head, saying,
PSA 22:8 "Commit yourself to the Lord; let Him deliver him;
Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him."
The mockery of vs. 8 was said just in this way from the foot of the cross of Jesus, but still, we do not read of anyone putting it all together. John openly admits that they didn’t put it together until after His resurrection.
Though plainly prophesied, no one recorded in the gospels seemed to understand it.
We can try to understand, though it is difficult for us after knowing the immense suffering that Christ endured to complete His work. Conquering by suffering doesn’t make much sense - even to the disciples believing in Him.
JOH 12:12 On the next day the great multitude who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,
JOH 12:13 took the branches of the palm trees, and went out to meet Him, and began to cry out, "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel."
JOH 12:14 And Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written,
JOH 12:15 "Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your King is coming, seated on a donkey's colt."
JOH 12:16 These things His disciples did not understand at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things to Him.
This shows us that even believers continue to try and implant a humanistic pattern on truths that don’t align with humanistic ways. We tend to alter doctrines in order to make them more comfortable to our reasoning.
It is far better to receive the revelation from God directly as it is stated and admit you don’t understand than to alter it.
As we noted several times in this series, undaunted by their misunderstanding, after His resurrection, Jesus revealed to His disciples from OT prophecy that the Messiah was to suffer and die. Coming from a resurrected Man whom they knew to have suffered and died, it was now impossible not to see.
Side note: Christ’s suffering and our own
Jesus suffered on so many levels it is difficult to comprehend them all. None of His suffering was self-induced - none.
JOH 12:17 And so the multitude who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb, and raised him from the dead, were bearing Him witness.
JOH 12:18 For this cause also the multitude went and met Him, because they heard that He had performed this sign.
JOH 12:19 The Pharisees therefore said to one another, "You see that you are not doing any good; look, the world has gone after Him."
But a week later …
JOH 19:14 Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, "Behold, your King!"
JOH 19:15 They therefore cried out, "Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar."
JOH 19:16 So he then delivered Him to them to be crucified.
This is more of a psychological suffering than a physical one. It is sheer disappointment in those who should on all accounts love you.
When that does happen, it must have a very different kind of sting than most other hurts in life. My guess is that this happens most frequently to children. One or both parents abandon them or someone abuses them and they have to find a way to overcome the pain that it causes. Yet, I would venture to say, that even in those cases, the greatest suffering in their lives is caused by themselves.
The greatest mass of suffering brought upon any person is from the source of himself. Jesus experienced none of this kind.
Actually, the point I’m getting to in this is that the one who disappoints you the most, the one who should love you the most but abandons you and lets you down, is you.
This is one of life’s many enigmas.
EPH 5:29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it
1CO 6:18 Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.
The context of 1Co 6 are sexual sins, which hurt the physical body, and of course the soul. There are other sins, like chemical abuse that hurt the body and the soul. Other sins, “outside the body” or not in use of the physical body, may not have the impact on the physical body as do the immoral, but every sin hurts us. Every sin does damage to the soul.
The Bible says that no one ever hated his own flesh, and yet, the one person who does the most damage to my flesh is me.
There isn’t a Christian alive who doesn’t want to break free of the patterns of sin that hinder his spiritual life, this things are likely the cause of his greatest mass of suffering.
By looking at how Christ handled and overcame suffering, though none of it was by His own cause, we can discover how to overcome our self-induced suffering.
If you do not overcome your own patterns of sin, you will never be equipped to overcome the sins that others do against you, the suffering that you haven’t caused.