In Paul's letter to Ephesus, he gives an astounding explanation of why he was given insight into the mystery of God that is now being made known through the apostles and prophets. In Eph 3:2 he calls it the "stewardship of grace." This Greek word for stewardship was used to describe the daily dispensation and distribution of the wealth of an estate to the various members of that estate. In other words, Paul was given the responsibility to dispense and distribute the grace of God to the Gentiles. He explains that this is the reason he was given insight into the mystery of God's eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ.
Paul explains that God's eternal purpose was that the Gentiles would be joint-heirs, members of the same body, and fellow-partakers of all the promises of God in Christ, and that this was being accomplished through the gospel. How was Paul to dispense this grace? He was to preach the incomprehensible riches of Christ so as to enlighten ALL about the dispensation and distribution of these riches. Do we realize that the only reason Paul was given grace was to dispense and distribute the inexhaustible riches of Christ to us?
Paul goes on to explain that part of God's eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ was that His own multi-sided wisdom, which had been hidden before, would NOW become manifested through THE CHURCH. That's you and I! God wants to show the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms His own multi-sided wisdom through you and I. It is only when we begin to receive and manifest these inexhaustible riches in Christ that God's multi-sided wisdom becomes manifest to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.
When we begin to understand that God never intended for His own glory and power to be simply recognized without being shared, it begins to dawn on us the hope to which we have been called. God intended for His glory to be shared, not simply admired. His own life, power, wisdom, righteousness, love and kindness were never intended to be merely displayed in the museum of the universe for men to gawk at. The display of His glory in the heavens were all intended to lead us to Himself, that in finding Him we would become partakers of His own divine nature.
This is what gave Paul the boldness he attempted to explain to the Ephesians. Having recognized that God's eternal purpose was to IMPART His own inexhaustible riches to men through faith in Christ Jesus, Paul had unhindered boldness or openness in approaching God in the matter of fulfilling his duties to make this glorious mystery known. Once Paul understood that God's eternal purpose was to dispense His glory to men through faith in Jesus Christ, he could pray in complete confidence for this eternal purpose, once hidden, now revealed to become known to the church.
So he prayed knowing God's will, knowing it was God's family, that God would give according to His divine riches. The steward of the house goes to the owner of the house to receive the authorization for all that is to be dispensed to the members of the house. Since Paul had received the revelation that he had been chosen to administer (to dispense) the knowledge of the mystery of the inexhaustible riches in Christ, he could pray with complete confidence "that He would give." Paul fully expected God to give, what God had eternally purposed to give. This confidence is sadly lacking in our day.
Paul knew God's eternal purpose and will was that the church, you and I, were to be made joint heirs, fellow partakers of the glorious riches of God through Jesus Christ dwelling in us by faith. Paul was simply acting faithfully to his calling as the adminstrator of the grace he had been given. He knew it was his duty to insure that you and I, and ALL who are in the church would begin to comprehend the depth, and breadth, and length and width of these inexhaustible riches God had eternally purposed to share with us.
Any person given the responsibility to administer the wealth of a great estate would cringe to know that the members of the state were living as paupers, beggers, lacking those items essential to them. This would be a terrible reflection upon the wealth of the estate or the administrator of that wealth. It is when the members of the estate are fully endowed with the wealth of the estate that its true power and influence are fully appreciated.
So it should be with us. It is not until we, the church, begin to manifest the endowment that we have received, that God's eternal purpose will be fully accomplished. Let us therefore examine ourselves. Do our lives reflect the wealth of God's estate? Are we manifesting the inexhaustible nature of the glorious riches that God eternally purposed for us to be partakers of? Are the rulers and authorities getting a clear picture of God's multi-sided wisdom by watching our lives? Anything less than our receiving, comprehending, and reflecting the glorious riches of God is "falling short of the glory of God," the glory that God never intended only to be displayed in the museum of the universe. God's glory was eternally meant to be dispensed, displayed and delineated through the church.
Alan and Dina Martin