The Mystery of Christ - Ephesians 3:1-6

The Mystery of Christ

My kids like playing the game ‘Clue.’ There is a desire to figure out the unknown and make it known to those around them. It can be slightly anxiety-producing in my house while playing some of these board games. At the conclusion of the game, everyone is privy to the previous secret that was revealed. Everyone at the table has equal access to that information. There is no longer any mystery. 

Ephesians 3:1-6
1 For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— 2 assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you, 3 how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. 4 When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. 6 This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.


During his writing, Paul was an actual prisoner of Rome. He was under house arrest, but this is not what Paul is referring to. He was a prisoner of Jesus, bound to Him, and belonged to Him. It was God’s will that Paul was in the situation he was in during the writing of this letter. Yes, Paul was held as a prisoner as he awaited trial with Caesar because of what he preached regarding the Gentiles having free access to God’s amazing grace. Paul was entrusted with bringing the Gospel of Jesus to the Gentiles. The NKJV translation uses ‘dispensation’ instead of ‘stewardship’ in verse 2. Stewardship is being carefully responsible in the management of something that has been entrusted to your care. Dispensation is being divinely appointed for the management of affairs. Paul is a steward of God’s grace. He is to dispense, spread, and share the Gospel with the Gentiles. 

Paul repeats the word ‘mystery’ several times. The mystery of Christ. The mystery of both Gentiles and Jews being equal in the eyes of God. Because Christ defeated sin, the secret was not known to the Gentiles. The Gentiles did not know what they did not know. Paul tells them that the stewardship given to him was from a personal revelation with Christ on the road to Damascus. As they read Paul’s letter, the mystery is no longer a secret that the previous generations did not know. The only way it is known now is because God wanted it to be known. We did not earn this knowledge of the truth. It was given to us as a gift through God’s love for us. He reminds them in verse 6 that the Gentiles are heirs to God’s grace and have equal rights with the Jews because they are the same body. Paul uses the word ‘partakers’ in verse 6. Here, it implies jointness as well. All have the same access to God’s gift and salvation. 

How do we, as Christians, view what Paul is telling the Ephesians here? It may seem as if this is something we already know and hear, but do we actually apply this to our lives? Paul was a prisoner of man, but he understood that it was God’s will that had him in that situation. The purpose was that he was being used as a steward to spread the Gospel. God will use us to reveal the mystery of His grace to all the world. For us, ‘all the world’ may just be those we interact with daily. Those around us may be blind or have chosen to blind themselves to God’s grace, and now it is a mystery to them. 

Are we being good stewards of God’s grace and dispensing His love to those around us? Are we partaking in God’s Word and growing closer to God? Are we partaking together as the body of Christ and growing closer together while collectively drawing near to God as brothers and sisters in Christ?

We know the answer, but we need to apply it. God will use us in all situations, but we need to be willing to be used. 

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