The Most Unlikely Hero (Ephesians 3:6-9)

That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the Gospel: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.

We all love a good redemption story. Our books and films are full of heroes and heroines who, when given a second chance, make up for the sins and failures of their past. God is also in the redemption business, of which Paul is a prime example. He even admits that he’s the least likely recipient of God’s grace.

Let’s briefly remind ourselves of the context of these verses. Paul is explaining to the Ephesians why his imprisonment is worth the suffering it has caused. Instead of lamenting his fate, Paul marvels that God would choose him to serve as his messenger. In verse 8, he even calls himself “less than the least of all believers.” He’s the last person you would expect the Lord to send.

You probably remember the reason why Paul had such an opinion about himself. Before his conversion, he was a ruthless persecutor of the church, responsible for the imprisonment and probable death of countless believers. And yet, God didn’t hold his past against him, instead sending him out to preach the very message he had tried to destroy. Talk about a plot twist!

Paul sees his calling to the ministry as an incredible gift and expression of grace, and his words point to his amazement at the tremendous privilege of sharing the Gospel. God has given him a second chance, for which he’s eternally grateful.

What is this message for which Paul is willing to go to prison? In verse six, he writes that both Jews and Gentiles equally inherit all the blessings of salvation found in Christ. This message probably sounds normal to us, but back in the first century, such a statement was revolutionary because Jews believed only Israel had access to God.  

In verse nine, Paul goes on to explain that the inclusion of the Gentiles into the promises of the Messiah was a new revelation from God—a “mystery”—which had been hidden until the time came to make it known.

Paul can’t get over the fact that God chose him to share this momentous message with the Gentiles. He has the extraordinary honor to tell them about the “unsearchable riches of Christ,” in other words, all the blessings, benefits, and grace that Jesus gives to those who follow him. Gentiles can be reconciled to God just as much as Jews.

Do we rejoice with Paul over the good news found in the Gospel? And are we willing to share its life-giving message with others, no matter the consequences?

May I interrupt you for a second?

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