14. What is the mystery of Christ, about which Paul speaks in Ephesians 3:2-5?




The same apostle Paul a little further on gives you the answer by saying: “That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel” (Ephesians 3:6). In other words, that mystery is the fulfilment of the plan formed by God before time began, and foretold by God through the prophets of old (Romans 16:25; Isaiah 11:10; Hosea 1:10), which consisted in making the Gentiles become part of His people by faith in Jesus Christ, and thus in making the two peoples (the Jews and the Gentiles) one people, that is, the Church of the living God. That mystery “was kept secret since the world began” in order to be revealed by God at His appointed time through the Holy Spirit unto His holy apostles and prophets (Ephesians 3:5) and thus through them it was made manifest to His saints.

The reason why we Gentiles, even though we are uncircumcised in the flesh, and we were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, are part of the people of God by faith in Jesus Christ, is because Jesus by His death – as Paul says to us Gentiles by birth – “hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby” (Ephesians 2:14-16).

Therefore, we Gentiles in Christ - as Paul explains - through Christ together with the Jews who are in Christ, “have access by one Spirit unto the Father” (Ephesians 2:18) and we are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom we also are being built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit (Ephesians 2:18-22). Our entrance into the people of God is explained by Paul with the illustration of the graft, for he says to the saints of Rome that we Gentiles by birth were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree (Romans 11:24), where we took the place of those natural branches that were broken off because of unbelief, that is, the disobedient Jews (Romans 11:17,20), and where we stand by our faith in Jesus Christ. Therefore the fact that we are branches wild by nature which were grafted into a cultivated olive tree and now we partake of the root and fatness of the cultivated olive tree, should always lead us to consider this, that we do not support the root, but the root supports us; consequently, we should not be arrogant nor boast against those branches broken off, that is, the disobedient Jews. But rather we should fear God, for if He did not spare the natural branches but he broke them off from their own olive tree because of their unbelief, He will not spare us either if we draw back and throw away our confidence.

To God, who called us to become part of His people, be the glory now and forever in Christ Jesus. Amen.