Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Saviou
Paul appears to be under house arrest as he writes this letter but he does not want the believers to be discouraged because of that. Instead, he offers two great points of encouragement. The first is that the ‘mystery of Christ’, previously hidden, though recognized through the prophets, has now been made known. The second is that Paul has received the enormous privilege of preaching the gospel of Christ to all and building up the church. So they need not feel sorry for him!
The hidden mystery of Christ is the good news that the Gentiles are included in God’s covenant, and Christ’s body. This would be music to the ears of Gentile readers. It would also remind the Jews that the gospel allows them no special status. Paul himself has no special status. His own calling of making Christ known is received through God’s grace, not because of any spiritual standing or wisdom. Yet he accepts that to preach to the Gentiles, and disclose the mystery hidden for generations, is a very special calling. It enables the Church to make God’s wisdom known even to the ‘rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. It seems we have something to teach the angels–and demons also!
The passage closes with a reminder of the centrality of Christ and the confidence and access we can have in him through faith. It challenges us today about our own boldness before Christ and for Christ. Two millennia later, the mystery is no longer hidden, and through the preaching of the gospel we have witnessed the expansion of Christ’s body into every nation. Because Christ died for us too, we are also included. So whatever struggle we face today, let us not be discouraged.
Each generation is called to mission in a way effective for that time. Compare a nineteenth-century missionary and someone today, and pray for greater power and outreach.