“Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ. I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning” (Ephesians 3:8-9 NLT).
Based on the verse quoted above, it seems clear that the Apostle Paul (the man that God used to write His message to the church at Ephesus) didn’t believe that his God-given responsibilities made him better than other people. But why would Paul consider himself to be less than the least of all the saints (NKJ) ? Well, the answer may be found within another letter that Paul wrote to the church in the town of Corinth…
“For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God” (1Corinthians 15:9 NIV).
You see, Paul knew that he was the same man who once went from house to house dragging Christians out of their homes and sending them to jail (see Acts 8:3). But Paul also knew that he was not that same man any more because of what Jesus had done for him. Paul’s example tells us that it’s never too late to begin living the kind of life that honors God, regardless of anything that may have happened in the past. Even if we (like Paul) have done things in the past that we now regret, God’s grace towards us can allow us to move forward and be everything that He created us to be.
Of course, someone might look at everything that Paul has written up to this point and ask, What’s the meaning of all this? What does God want to accomplish through this? Well, one answer to that question is found in the next verse:
“God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:10-11 NLT).
The idea here is that God wants to display His wisdom using the “theatre” of the church, so to speak. The church is God’s instrument through which He desires to display His knowledge, understanding and good judgment to everyone- including those angelic beings that He has also created. This explains Paul’s reference to these unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places that are mentioned above. Because angelic beings (like human beings) are limited in their understanding, it’s impossible for them to know everything about the unlimited, infinite God. So God uses His work through His church as a way to help all of His creation to know and understand Him better.
“Now we can come fearlessly right into God’s presence, assured of his glad welcome when we come with Christ and trust in him” (Ephesians 3:12).
This verse tells us that all Christians are allowed to have total boldness and confidence in approaching God because of what Jesus has done for them. This same idea is also expressed in the book of Hebrews in a slightly different way…
“…Jesus the Son of God is our great High Priest who has gone to heaven itself to help us; therefore let us never stop trusting him. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses since he had the same temptations we do, though he never once gave way to them and sinned. So let us come boldly to the very throne of God and stay there to receive his mercy and to find grace to help us in our times of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16).
Now just because we have this privilege doesn’t mean that we can treat God casually or disrespectfully. It’s important that we approach God with an attitude of respect, humility, and appreciation for His willingness to hear and act on those things that we ask of Him. However, a Christian never has to be fearful or apprehensive in their relationship with God because God will always welcome the person who comes to Him by faith through Jesus (see Romans 5:1-2).
“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God” (Ephesians 3:16-19 NLT).
A lot of Christians know about the Bible but how many really know what the Scriptures tell us and take advantage of those things? For example, if you have a great car but never drive it then what good is it? If you have a large bank account with lots of money but never spend any of it, then what advantage is it? In the same way, many people may know about the richness of God’s resources as found within the Scriptures but how many fail to withdraw them? You see, God has unlimited resources as we’re told above, and He is rich in lots of things:
- God is rich in wisdom and knowledge (Romans 11:33)
- God is rich in mercy (Ephesians 2:4)
- God is rich in understanding (1 Corinthians 2:12)
- God richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment (1 Timothy 6:17)
- Finally, Philippians 4:19 tells us that “…God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (NIV).
God makes His wealth of resources available to His people just for the asking (see James 1:5 for one example). God’s riches are inexhaustible and He makes this same limitless supply of resources available to Christians today.