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1.9 Devotions from the Book of Ephesians

Imagine an ancient language of symbols that cannot be deciphered; it would pose quite the mystery to historians, wouldn’t it?

That’s exactly what happened with Egyptian hieroglyphics. For centuries people tried to figure out what Egyptian symbols meant but they never knew their true meanings until the discovery of the Rosetta Stone in 1799. This slab of granitoid stone would unlock centuries of mystery because it contained a decree written three ways including Greek. Scholars used the Rosetta Stone as a decoder to finally solve the mystery of Egyptian hieroglyphics.

In our passage this week from Ephesians 3:1-14, Paul says that when we read his letter that we can understand the mystery of Christ. What is that mystery? First off, we must recognize that it was never a mystery to God.

1 John 3: 19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. (ESV)

Second, we learned in Ephesians 1:4, that God planned for Jesus to redeem us “before the foundation of the world” and that He is “making known to us the mystery of His will, according to his purpose (Ephesians 1:9).” So, what’s the deal with the mystery?

In the Old Testament, God used prophets to reveal some of His plan which was primarily through the Jews. God’s work through the Old Testament was a picture of redemption through Jesus Christ but it wasn’t the whole story…not yet. The Jews could not keep the law which meant they continually had to offer sacrifices. It was complicated and hard, and they waited for the Messiah. Finally came the ultimate sacrifice, Jesus on the cross to take on the sins of you and me and the whole of humanity. Sins forgiven once and for all which meant no more animal sacrifices.

Many of the Jews of Paul’s time didn’t understand that God’s plan was for all people. They thought God’s plan was just for them. The mystery was that both Jew and Gentile have the same opportunity to know Jesus! That’s the amazing beauty of the gospel.

Hebrews 4: 14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (ESV)

Thankfully, the mystery is revealed, and we can now love one another with no barriers. May we live in the bond of peace as we serve together at STP.

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