By Stan Brown
Ephesians 3:3 that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief.
Paul continues to expand on the mystery on which he touched earlier in brief when he wrote, Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands — remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world (Eph. 2:11-12). He now expands on this fantastic mystery which had been revealed to Him. The word mystery refers to something that was not clearly known in the Old Testament but is made clear in the New Testament. Hoehner describes it as “a truth hitherto unknown”. In the previous verse Paul has described this mystery as the stewardship of God’s grace.
In the middle of Paul’s digression, I get ahead of myself slightly. The magnificent grace of God had been shown often in the Old Testament. God’s grace was present when He led Adam out of the garden; when He saved Noah from the flood; when He gave promises to Abraham; when He led His people into and out of Egypt; when He gave the Law at Sinai; when He led His people into the Promised Land; when He suffered with their rebellion; when He brought them back from exile and on and on. A hint of His grace regarding the Gentiles was at play as well in the lives of folks like Rahab and Ruth and the sending of the prophet Jonah to Nineveh. Jonah even fled so he would not have a part in displaying God’s grace to Nineveh, yet he knew God’s grace was there. Ah yes, God’s grace is on display in the Old Testament continually and without question. Yet it exploded onto the scene in the New Testament in a way never before seen. In the face of stunning grace folks still reject Him as the world descends into chaos. As I said I got ahead of myself and maybe Paul too. Paul will explain the content of the mystery in verse six.
In the current verse Paul explains that this mystery was revealed by God to him. In Galatians Paul has a lot more to say about the revealing of the Gospel of Christ to Him as he writes For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ (Gal. 1:11-12). This magnificent mystery of the stewardship of God’s grace could only be revealed by God. There is no other way. We stand as its recipients. Peter writes The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance (2Pet. 3:9). God’s message of grace is available to all as Paul will state in verse six. God desires that all come to repentance. We are His message to the world.