I bring you the Glory Games, based on an all-time, best-selling book: the Bible. In it, an all-powerful, all-present, all-knowing, loving, and just God creates humans to reign and rule over the works of His hands and to bring Him glory. The arena, so to speak, the earth. The fall, a single man’s decision to rebel against his God. The consequence for all mankind, eternal separation from God. The game? Well, it’s not a game, really. Not at all, in fact. It’s an offer. A free gift. A love story with one single message delivered to all: Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and no man comes to the Father except through Him, through grace, by faith. For those who believe in their hearts and confess with their mouths that Jesus is Lord, eternal life.
Here is where you might hear a drum roll. Here is where we learn why earth. The reason the arena isn’t heaven. The reason we have to do this earth thing, as my daughter calls it, with its pain, loss, and suffering.
It’s the climax. The moment I’ve eagerly anticipated. I feel like the person behind the podium with the envelope. A hushed room waiting to hear the winner of the Oscar for best picture of the year.
And the answer is…
A pin drops.
For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles – if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power. To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him (emphasis mine).
That’s why earth!!! Do you see it? I can barely contain myself as I type!
Grace was given Paul to preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ so that the principalities and powers in the heavenly places would know the manifold wisdom of God by the church! It had to be earth because the audience is in the heavenly places!!!
In the words of Albert Barnes, “The design of this was to illustrate, in view of all worlds, the great wisdom of God in the plan of salvation, Ephesians 3:10-12. It was intended to show to other intelligent beings the glory of the Divine perfections, and to make manifestations of the Divine character which could be perceived nowhere else” (www.preceptaustin.org, Ephesians 3 commentary).
Barnes continues, “The sense is, that it was with this design, or that this was the purpose for which all things were made. One grand purpose in the creation of the universe was, that the wisdom of God might be clearly shown by the church. It was not enough to evince it by the formation of the sun, the stars, the earth, the seas, the mountains, the floods. It was not enough to show it by the creation of intelligent beings, the formation of immortal minds on earth, and the various ranks of the angelic world. There were views of the Divine character which could be obtained only in connection with the redemption of the world. Hence the universe was created, and man was made upon the earth, not merely to illustrate the Divine perfections in the work of creation, but in a still more illustrious manner in the work of redemption. And hence the deep interest which the angelic hosts have ever evinced in the salvation of man.”
Another commentator, Ron Daniel, says, “Another thing he points out in these verses is incredible: for ages, the gospel was largely hidden from angels and demons in the spiritual realm. But now it is being made known to them by the church!” (preceptaustin.org, Ephesians 3:1-13 commentary).
First Peter 1:10-12 explains, “Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven; things which angels desire to look into.”
Daniel exclaims, “Angels longed to look into these things, and now they watch the church on earth to learn them. That is so profoundly amazing!”
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33).
His wisdom, ordained before the ages for our glory, and hidden until the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (I Corinthians 2:7).
“God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-7).
To god be the glory as we become more wholly His today.
Shauna WallaceHoly His