Paul's Pre-Prison Epistles
What are Paul's Pre-Prison Epistles
That I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. The word unsearchable here means past finding out; too great for human comprehension. So it is a great advantage to be in Christ, identified with Him by a spiritual baptism into His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension into glory (heavenly places).
God has blest members of that church with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. Is Ephesians 1:3 yours?
Can you say that you have been already seated or enthroned with Christ in heavenly places? See Ephesians 2:6.
Do you believe that the church is publishing abroad to the heavenly places, to the beings there, the manifold wisdom of God? See Ephesians 3:10.
Do you have a part in His inheritance in the saints (the holiest of all)? Ephesians 1:18.
Do you hold a citizenship in the holiest of all? See Ephesians 2:19.
Do you believe that the Father has made you meet or fit to be a partaker of the inheritance in the holy of holies in the Sheckinah? Colossians 1:12.
It may be that when you read these over, you will find out that you have been missing something. Don't sell your birthright for a mess of pottage, as did Esau.
Do you have an assurance that you will be manifested with Christ in glory (heavenly places) some day? Colossians 3:1-4.
How about your citizenship or homeland? Where is it? Philippians 3: 20. Be sure to have your papers.
Are you confident that you were chosen before the overthrow? Ephesians 1:4.
Have you been accepted in the Beloved? Ephesians 1:6. Or have you been accepted on your own merits and works?
Is your hope connected with Christ's Kingship over Israel and the nations on earth, or with His Headship over the church which is His body in the heavenly places?
Are you positive that you have a part in that promise of life in Christ made before the overthrow, or the ages? Ephesians 3:6; 2 Timothy 1:1; Titus 1:2. Check on this.
Do you realize and believe that the will of the Father (Ephesians 1:1-4), the work of the Son (Ephesians 1:5-12), and the witness of the Spirit (Ephesians 1:13,14) concern you? Do you appreciate God's concern and provision for you?
These questions are being asked in order to clear up some things that ordinarily are confused and mixed up. Some think that all the saved will live on the earth in a future life, and others are convinced from the above quotes, that they have a home in heavenly places far above all and enthroned with Christ there. Now make up your mind as to whether you can rely on the traditions of men or the Word of God.
Remember that in this life is the only time to make this choice. And if you make the wrong choice, you may end up with nothing.
Ephesians 3:8 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.
Note that Paul never magnifies himself. He is just the channel thru which his Lord can work. But he never hesitated to magnify his office, his special ministry. And that was right. He understood that God had given him this special ministry by a special dispensation of grace, and that to him alone (3:2). Remember that the dispensation of the grace of God was for Paul only. No others are included in this great dispensation. It was to Paul so that he might proclaim the dispensation of the mystery which includes all who hear and believe. The dispensation of the grace of God has been given to no one since Paul.
And who are these Gentiles? Did not Paul merge the Jewish and Gentile believers together in chapter 2 preceding? Yes, he proclaimed the blessed fact that the 2 were made one, created into one new man, the body of Christ. This is where the dispensation of the mystery began. This is where the body of Christ, of which He is the [lead, came into being. It was when the middle wall of partition was abolished and the both created into one new man.
In chapter 2 we are reminded that at one time Israel was 1 and the nations 70. These always were separate and not reckoned together. But now they are 71, one new man. And from that time they all are called Gentiles, nations. Israel had no longer the first place. She is merged in with the rest.
So in Ephesians 3:1 Paul speaks of himself as a prisoner for the Gentiles (the 71). And in this verse 8 with which we are dealing now, the Gentiles are the 71 nations. Paul proclaims the unsearchable riches of Christ among all who had been Jews and Gentiles. These unsearchable riches could never be proclaimed until the 70 and 1 had become 71, the one body of which Christ is the Head.
At this point, Paul received a new revelation. There were riches of Christ before this time. But they were searchable. They had been revealed. He had all power in heaven and earth. He was to be King of kings and Lord of lords. All this had been prophesied. All this was known. The tracks were to be found thru all the Jewish Scriptures.
But to Paul was given a new revelation, one far beyond what the O.T. Scriptures ever knew. To Paul was revealed the fact that Christ had riches that had left no track in the O.T. Unsearchable means untrackable or untraceable. These new riches cannot be found anywhere in previous writings.
And what are they? In Ephesians 1:9,10 is revealed a secret. It is that Christ has been made Head of all things in both heaven and in earth. This extends His riches and rule far beyond the earth and its millennial kingdom. In verses 22 and 23 we learn that He has been made Head of the church which is His body. This is a different body from what we have ever known before. No track of it, even in Paul's epistles written during Acts. And in Ephesians 3:6; 2 Timothy 1:1; and Titus 1:2 we find a promise never known before. These riches are a new revelation.
Blest with all spiritual blessings. Not material or carnal blessings, for they have their place with an earthly people, not those whose citizenship is in heaven.
Blest in heavenly places, not here on the earth. That is why every blessing is spiritual.
Blest in Christ. Not in faithful Abraham. Abraham had promised to him a land here on the earth, not in the heavenlies. He had also spiritual blessings, but not in the heavens.
Chosen before the overthrow of the Cosmos. The earth people and their kingdom were chosen and in the mind of God since the overthrow.
Purpose of God is that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. In that respect, we are no different than Israel, for that was the will of God for them too.
We have an adoption, a placing as sons. SO did Israel who were His firstborn here on the earth. But we are a firstborn in the heavenly places. There is a difference. These are predestined from among all believers.
We have redemption thru the blood of Christ. So did Israel. Redemption has to go as far as sin and death have gone in creation.
We have the forgiveness of sins also thru His blood. So did Israel. They needed it just as well as we.
God has made known to us the mystery of His will, the Headship of Christ over all things. This was a secret that Israel never knew. His highest position known to them was that of King of kings and Lord of lords.
In Christ we have obtained an inheritance. But this is not the kingdom of heaven which is to come to earth in the Person of the King. It is an inheritance of God in the holy of holies.
Our salvation is that salvation that was sent to the Gentiles at Acts 28:28. It is not the salvation that was of the Jews. That had to do with the kingdom, not the church.
We are sealed. The seal is that promised holy spirit, the new nature in the child of God. The Holy Spirit, the Person, is the agent that does the sealing (Ephesians 4:30). Israel had this too.
We have hope of resurrection. That is called the redemption of the purchased possession, the birth from among the dead. It was true that one had to be born again, or raised from the dead to enter the kingdom.
God desires that we know the hope of His calling, the riches of His inheritance in the heavenlies, and the power that raised Christ from the dead. There were similar desires for Israel, but as to an earthly calling.
Christ is now Head over all to the church. He was also the King of Israel (tho rejected).
The church is the fulness of Him who will fill all in all!
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