“When you read this you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, 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; that is, how the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace which was given me by the working of his power.”
The mystery—the inclusion of Gentile believers in the God’s covenant community—was not clear in the OT. The OT spoke of Gentile nations being blessed because of the nation of Israel, but the Law and the prophets provided no clear teaching that Gentiles would be grafted into the covenant community as fellow heirs with Jewish believers. Yet, that was precisely God’s plan, and Paul was anointed by God to make this plan clear.
But Paul goes even further in teaching about the mystery. The church does not exist simply for the purpose of bringing people to salvation, though that is a wonderful and necessary work. The supreme purpose of the church is to glorify God by making his character and wisdom known not only to people in this world but also to angels in the heavenly realms. The supreme purpose of the church is to be a kingdom community that reflects the image and nature of God on earth and in the heavenly places.
“To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all men see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose which he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
When we live Christ-centered lives in the day-to-day activity of life and work, we display God’s character and glory and wisdom to angels and demons. We prove to the holy angels that God is worthy of their faithfulness and praise; and we prove to the fallen angels (demons) that their rebellion against God was a monumental mistake.
Like Paul, we are stewards of the kingdom and teachers of the truth. While not appointed as apostles, we nevertheless serve as ambassadors. We are called to display the love and lordship of Christ through the way we live and work, and when opportunity arises we are called to share and communicate the good news of the presence of the kingdom in the person and work of Jesus.
Like Paul, we are sometimes called to do this in the midst of difficult circumstances. And when difficulty strikes, it is imperative that we adopt a kingdom mindset and see our situation through the lens of who we know God to be.
A life lived through the lens of the kingdom of God is a powerful testimony to a watching world.