By Stan Brown
Ephesians 3:8b-9 this grace was given to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things;
Paul now explains the activity and content of his ministry. It concerns the unfathomable riches of Christ. So, let’s begin there with a look at two words. The first is riches. It might also be translated as wealth and refers to all that Christ possesses. There has never been an auditor, even one with an MBA from Harvard that could put a value on these resources. This thought leads directly into a view of the word translated unfathomable but first I conclude my comments on the word riches as it is associated with Christ. It could mean all the wealth that Christ possesses or the fact that Christ shares with us from His riches that we will never be able to comprehend. I suspect that it means both as there is no end to the riches that Christ provides for us through His unending riches. He even paid the ultimate price in order for us to participate in those riches.
So, what about the word translated unfathomable? The word is used only twice in the New Testament. It is used here to refer to the riches of Christ but Paul also uses it in Romans to refer to the very essence of who God is as he writes, Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! (Rom. 11:33). It means, “not to be traced out, indetectable, uninvestigable, unsearchable, inscrutable, incomprehensible, fathomless. All that exists about God is not discoverable by human beings. Neither are human beings capable of challenging the truth of His declarations. God’s fingerprints abound in His creation and His very DNA is present in us as we are made in His image. Yet God and His truth are only discoverable through His revelation. He has unmistakably revealed Himself through His creation which includes us. It is a revelation that screams out who He is. It is a revelation that exists in both the Living Word and the written word. Mankind tries to investigate His existence as they twist the revelation of Himself that He has given. God is unfathomable and the only way Paul can preach the message is because God revealed it to Him.
God chose Paul for a specific purpose. It was to reveal a mystery. It was first to preach to the Gentiles about the riches available to them, indeed to us. It was to make known the things that God had planned before the creation of the universe. It is now that God has determined to make that clear and gave Paul the responsibility to preach that message that God is freely making available to all His grace through faith. He was to bring to them the light that God desired to reveal to all without exception. It had been initially revealed to Paul when a tremendous light shone on the road to Damascus. Now he was to make that light shine out into the lives of all that they might understand what God had planned before the world began. Indeed, although we may not have received that call in as spectacular a fashion as did Paul, we also have been called to take that message of light to the world.
One last thing for today as Paul says this message comes from the creator of the universe. How foolish it is for that which is created to investigate their Creator. It is not as if we are investigating equals but rather questioning the One who caused everything to come into existence out of nothing. He is the Creator who reveals Himself to us. Paul writes in Romans On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? (Rom. 9:20).