Ephesians 3:8-13

Riches of Christ: Paul once more points out his unworthiness to serve the Lord and His people,[1] then he calls the gospel[2] "the unfathomable[3] riches of Christ." The gospel points us to the greatest blessing for creatures: access to God "who created all things." In Christ, we have the "boldness and confident access" to draw near to the holy God[4] as one united entity of the church. This was the priceless gem which was hidden in God Himself (unknown to man), but now revealed. And this good news reached the Gentiles only because the Apostle to the Gentiles fulfilled His ministry! His suffering service led us to "our glory."[5] We are God's church, the holy temple where God Himself dwells![6]

Eternal Purpose: The sovereign God devised the plan of redemption before creation, in eternity past. That plan was executed when Jesus paid for our sins (1:7), reconciled us to God (2:13, 16) and ushered in the church age (2:14-15). In this age, the united church of God is His masterpiece that puts on display His manifold wisdom in worldwide redemption. We are the visible exhibition of His plan revealed and fulfilled. Our united, loving, harmonious community is the blow horn, and the world is our audience (John 17:20-21), as well as the angels![7] They gaze at us to see the wisdom of God in His global salvation plan.

[1] Paul sees himself literally as "less than the least of all saints" (3:8). Ministry is grace (cf. 1 Tim. 1:12-15).

[2] "To preach" is literally "to gospel-ize [eu-ang-ge-li- (εὐαγγελίζω)]." Paul is still talking about the gospel.

[3] "Unfathomable" is literally "un-trace-able." This points to the vastness of our blessing (so great it cannot be traced/measured), not its un-knowability. This is God's mystery revealed and it is knowable, though vast.

[4] "Confident access [pros-a--ροσαγωγή)]" and "boldness [par--si-a (παρρησία)]" together (one article two nouns) depict our access to God (2:18; Heb. 10:19). We approach God bold and confident.

[5] The afflictions Paul suffered to proclaim the gospel lead the Gentile elect to their glory (3:13; 5:26-27).

[6] Paul elsewhere speaks of this nature of the church: 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 1 Pet. 2:5; 1 John 4:12-13.

[7] "The rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places" refer to angelic beings (Eph. 6:12). Angels gaze upon the church (1 Cor. 4:9; 11:10; 1 Tim. 5:21) and desire to understand the full import of the gospel (1 Pet. 1:12).