Christ said that there was nothing hidden that would not be revealed.
Truly, when Christ died and was raised from death, a new day dawned, a new day began. It would be hard to imagine the magnitude of the changes that have taken place as a result of the cross. The new day is “the day of salvation” (2CO 6:2), and the blessings of “such a great salvation” (HEB 2:3) are so richly diverse that they cannot be neatly defined. Several pictures are needed to portray them.
One such picture is of a reconciled family.
EPH 3:4-7 And by referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; 6 to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, 7 of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God's grace which was given to me according to the working of His power.
Reconciliation of man to God and Jew to Gentile was a miracle of God’s grace and power. It resulted in the emergence of a single, new, unified humanity, whose members through the cross have been reconciled both to God and to one another. Formerly enemies, they have had their reciprocal hostility put to death. They are now fellow citizens in God’s kingdom, brothers and sisters in God’s family, bellow member of Christ’s body and sharers together in the Messianic promise. This and more pictures that describe the “so great salvation” is the mystery that had been kept secret for ages, but now has been revealed, and by faith anyone can see it and participate in it.
EPH 3:8-10 To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things; in order that the manifold [many varied] wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.
“manifold” - polupoikilos = much varied. Made known through the church is the intricate beauty of the purpose of God for mankind.
The term is taken from the intricate beauty of an embroidered pattern. We find Peter using it also.
1PE 4:7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.
1PE 4:8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.
1PE 4:9 Be hospitable to one another without complaint.
1PE 4:10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold [much varied]grace of God.
God’s wisdom is much varied and His gifts to individuals are much varied. Not all of them, neither the wisdom of the gifts, will immediately make sense to us, but all believers must exercise the wisdom they know and the gifts they have to the fullest and in fullest confidence by the power of God.
Learning and understanding the much varied wisdom of God and grace of God takes time and humility. This forces us to look at humility yet again.
1PE 4:11 Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God [boldness based on grace]; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies [vigorous and unbounded based on grace]; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Manifold grace means that each of us have a particular gift from God, and though we are unworthy sinners, we exercise that gift to its fullest through God’s power.
Paul acknowledges that he is the least among the saints, yet he strives in the work of God. He understands therefore that it is not he, the least, that is performing his work for his own ends, but God, the greatest, who has commissioned Paul, gifted Paul, empowered him, and given him to go-ahead to exercise his gift, his ministry. Peter writes the same concerning all of us in 1PE 4:10-11.
EPH 3:5, 16
I was made a minister, according to the gift of God's grace which was given to me according to the working of His power …
(16) that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man;
Through wisdom we develop the skill of obeying God in humility. We do His will knowing by faith that the Holy Spirit within us will empower us to accomplish it. We have no ulterior motive other than being the sons and daughters of God that we have been made to be by the sacrifice of Christ for us. Some use the terminology “get yourself out of the way,” but though it has an aspect of truth, I have always found it confusing and misleading. It is myself who does God’s will. It is pride that has to go away, along with selfishness, greed, lust, and ignorance.
Paul tells us how - he says do it this way (Rom 12), the Lord’s way.
I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice [available and ready and present for orders], acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
3 For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment [the truth of God and us], as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. 4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 And since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us [many varied], let each exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
9 Let love be without hypocrisy [don’t fake it]. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord [humility]; 12 rejoicing in hope [God will bless your service], persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and curse not. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep [no pride]. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you [you are empowered by God within], be at peace with all men. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. 20 "But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head." 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.