"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21
Our Bible study group has been looking at this verse this week and it's been ruminating deep in my soul. The Apostle Paul was trying to get the Gentiles in Ephesus to realize this unbelievable 'mystery' that THEY TOO were grafted into God's family! Not only that, but they had access to the SAME POWER in their inner being that raised Jesus from the dead! AND, they were entitled to the same glorious inheritance and promises that formerly was understood to be for Israel alone.
We went to Ephesus once. The tour guide showed us how amazing the city was in its time. It was perfectly placed on a port and was constantly importing some of the finest produce and materials from all over the globe. We also learned that several of the believers at that time were more or less wealthy. They even had pipes installed under their floors for heating and little fountains and courtyards to divide up their homes. They also probably had a taste for entertainment (like us) since the city had a 25,000 seat theater nearby where the city Orchestra would play and the occasional Gladiator would fight! They were bakers, store owners, politicians, homemakers, slaves, and soldiers.
I'm sure they had all heard of the Jews and the God of the Israelites before Paul came.
It must have been a big leap of faith to believe that this once very 'set apart' people was now allowing them to be a part of their group! I imagine they struggled to believe the Israelite Christians would REALLY include them.
Like, for real?!
I can feel Paul's pain as he is practically begging them to fully grasp this unbelievable new reality!
How strange. After thousands of years this famous GOD, the one who parted the sea and sent his angel armies, was now, through the sacrifice of His Son, allowing the Ephesians access to His family, His Son, His salvation, His Inheritance, His Heaven.
One body. One family. One church.
The Gentiles probably brought an amazing perspective to the table. With their unique background they could now reach a whole new group of lost souls.
Together, the Church could begin to see the wholeness of God's purpose and Gospel for the entire world.
We are always hoping, praying and trying to convince our kids of their new identities. The former life of a forgotten orphan is GONE. They are not just some kids we picked up to give a few scraps of food. They are OURS. Forever. They are family.
They are sons and a daughter; nephews and a niece, cousins, grandkids, heirs of a family name, heritage, inheritance, and a forever love.
Really! Like for real.