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.
The people of the empire, especially in the East, had a tendency to worship angelic beings. Paul is sure to guard against that, but while not making them some kind of ornamental creatures of God’s universe. They are complex creatures that long to learn, but they are not to be worshipped, in fact, in looking to us to learn of God’s wisdom, we would be fools to think they are worthy of any adoration.
It is important for us to understand that though the angels see much that they find fascinating but hard to comprehend, they do not stop watching. They do not bow out in lost hope that all the wrong and sin and evil in the world has rendered God’s purpose a lost cause. They do not become skeptics like so many in the human race do, and sadly, some Christians do. We should learn from that. Why do they keep watching? They know God and they know heaven. They don’t know how God is going to do it all, but they are sure of His victory because they are sure of Him. Are we?
Verse 10 reveals that what God has hidden from creation until the church is to be openly revealed in the widest sphere; all earth and even heaven.
EPH 3:11 This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord,
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
The steadfast of mind Thou wilt keep in perfect peace,
Because he trusts in Thee. Trust in the Lord forever,
For in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock.
Christ Jesus our Lord - this singular expression identifies the ideal and the real, the promise and fulfillment, the dream of OT prophecy and the fact of NT history. It is the hypostatic union.
Christ is Messiah - the Anointed One. Lord is God. These names have been known and expected. But Jesus is the carpenter from Nazareth, real flesh and blood.
The title is an almost unique combination (COL 2:6 is the only other exact parallel): the Christ Jesus the Lord our.
“the Christ, even Jesus our Lord” - Lightfoot
This is written only thirty years after Jesus of Nazareth died on a felon’s cross as a usurper, of which the governments of the Jews and the Romans had soon after forgotten and assured themselves that they were done with. This one, this Man, is the One in whom the entire purpose of God for all humanity and human history is fulfilled.
He was not some ancient myth that grew in proportion over time, giving Him more power and abilities and lore with each passing century. It was only a few decades after His death that a great many people knew Him to be the One in whom the entire, eternal purpose of God was carried out. They knew Him to be God beyond a shadow of a doubt as well as a man, and many of them were alive when He was alive.
This name is the mystery of the hypostatic union. The Lord Jesus Christ is undiminished deity and true humanity in one person.
Col1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
Col1:16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him.
Col1:17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
Col1:18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.
COL 1:19 For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him,
COL 1:20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.
The OT saints looked forward out of their twilight to His coming with wistful expectancy.
The fact that He alone sits at the right hand of God above all rule and authority is proof that all the past ages were employed in preparing His way.
EPH 3:11 - “In accordance with deliberate purpose, and that purpose not new, but running through the whole of eternity.” [J.A. Robinson]
God’s purpose for the world was centered on mankind. Earth and the universe, the creation recorded for us in Gen 1-2, was only the stage for mankind. This is further seen beyond a doubt in that God became a man.
But what was God’s purpose for mankind? God is very clear about this. His purpose was to make man of a certain type - the image of God.
ROM 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
ROM 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren;
ROM 8:30 and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
Man is in the image of God, but fallen from a perfect image.
Man still retains a personality (intellect, conscience, and will) but they are all stained by sin. Man still has a mind, hopes, dreams, a certain morality, but in his fallen state they are all stained by sin.
GEN 9:6 "Whoever sheds man's blood,
By man his blood shall be shed,
For in the image of God He made man.
GEN 9:7 "And as for you, be fruitful and multiply;
Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it."
The fact that in the image of God man would murder another man is a telling fact concerning what happened to this image. Soon after this Noahic Covenant, Noah would get drunk, his son Ham would disgrace his father, and the progeny of all three sons of Noah would build the Tower of Babel, the meaningless city built without God. God would scatter these fallen, sinful creatures throughout the globe where they would gather into individual communities, tribes, and city-states. And due to their murderous, savage, covetous natures, the concept of conquest, of kingdom building through war and subjugation, would soon follow.
But then comes the call of Abraham, through whom God would build a nation for Himself, upon whom He would set His Law as well as His promises for the world. This was the next step in the coming of the Son of Man.
The Son of God comes into the world and reveals God, but in so doing, He also reveals what man is to be - his purpose. He dies in order to give anyone who will put their faith in Him that very life.
COL 3:1 If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
COL 3:2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
COL 3:3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
COL 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.