The Showpiece of God’s Wisdom
“…so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might be made known…” (Ephesians 3:10)
Bible Reading: Ephesians 3:7-10
Paul has spoken of his ministry to the Gentiles as a “gift of God’s grace” (Ephesians 3:7). Though the “very least of all the saints”, it was given to him to preach “the unsearchable riches of Christ” to the Gentiles (v. 8).
But there was more happening in his ministry than just making the gospel known to those who were once alienated from God and without hope in the world. He was also “bringing to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” (vs. 9-10).
In the salvation of the Gentiles and the birth of the church, God’s eternal plan, “hidden for ages” in him, was being made known. Paul had earlier listed as one of the spiritual blessings we receive in Christ insight into “the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and on earth” (1:9-10). It is likely that he is referring to the same thing in these verses in chapter 3.
Here, however, he is saying that this hidden plan of God is now revealed to “everyone… through the church” (vs. 9, 10). And it is not just revealed to humans, but also to “the rulers and authorities in heavenly places.” The “manifold wisdom of God”, Paul says, is on display to heavenly beings in the church. The world of elect (and possibly fallen) angels can see God’s plan for the ages in what he is doing in the church.
The apostle Peter reminds us in his first letter that “angels long to look” into God’s plans and purposes in salvation (1 Peter 1:12). Though mighty in power, they are “ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who will inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:14). They do not know everything about what God is doing or what he intends and are here said to gain insight into what that is through the church. In the uniting of Jew and Gentile in the “one body”, and in their reconciliation to God through Jesus, the angelic world is given a glimpse of what God is doing in Christ – reconciling everything in his creation to himself.
The reality is that we are caught up in the unfolding story of God’s plan for his creation. As the creator of all things, he is restoring everything to himself. And the love, unity and worship of the church is the place where that purpose is reflected.
That should fill us with a sense of both wonder and concern to see the church be what it really is – the showpiece in which God displays his plan for the ages.
- Do you ever think that heavenly beings are watching what happens on earth?
- Should the fact that the church is the showpiece of God’s plan for the ages make us concerned for its unity and love?
– Andrew Young