As Many Have Been Saved, So Can Many Be Saved
and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.
Ephesians 3:9–12 ESV Read More
There is a twofold plan playing out here. First, God is saving the world. In Christ, He has brought together those that were able to be faithful and righteous and keep the Law wholeheartedly (and have faith in God’s mercy for their failures) and the people that were hopeless. The hopeless people were outside of the Law, outside of the bloodline of Jacob, either ignorant of the God of Israel or those that had no hope of keeping His Law. These hopeless folks are often referred to as Gentiles or sinners in the New Testament.
The trick is, God never intended to exclude the Gentiles. At some point, the truth of God’s word was overcome by patriotism, and all foreigners to the homeland were rejected. The religious leaders hated foreigners, even though God had told them through the prophets and even Moses He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. – Dt. 10:18 Not only did God care for the foreigners, but He wanted them to worship Him. This is what Jesus got upset about when He cleared the temple of merchants and Mark quoted Jesus quoting the Psalms And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ’a den of robbers.’” Mk. 11:17
So once God saves the world, the what would He do? Secondly, He would use the world that He has saved to move out and spread the news to the rest of the unsaved world. As the news of salvation would spread, more people would receive that salvation and they too would become messengers of that salvation. The medium is the message, and the people that are saved are the sign that God is saving people.
This is why Paul says this is the manifold wisdom of God on display. The word manifold only appears once in the New Testament. It is polupoikilos and it means “many colored, variegated, many varieties, showing up in many forms.” God’s manifold wisdom shows up in many forms because it is for many people and is breaking out among many people. As all of those people have direct access to God, the message doesn’t change, but the cultural impact will.
John Wesley wrote hymns to folks songs. The Apostle Paul quoted Greek poets. Five Iron Frenzy (best band ever!) humiliated themselves with silliness and Phil N. Orange preaches the Gospel to kids while drawing inspiration from a movie that reviewers say is “A silly movie that’s definitely not for kids.” In God’s wisdom, He is using every one of us, as different as we are, to get the word of His salvation out to everyone, as different as they are.
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