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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Splendored Wisdom of God Revealed Through The Church

I have been reading, meditating and thinking on the book of Ephesians. Paul wrote this book to the believers in Ephesus (Jews and Gentile). He planted the church in his third missionary journey and spent three years there. (Acts 19; 20:31) Paul's desire was to take the Gospel to the Gentiles all over the Roman Empire. What motivated Paul? Paul's motivation came from his calling but also from the love he had for Christ. As Paul planted churches he understood God's intent for His people, the Church. He says:

"His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms" - Ephesians 3:10 (NIV)

To be honest, this verse is quite odd for me, especially the last part about rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. Here is an explanation:

"The more the church lives in harmony with its high calling, the more also will the angels be able to see in it God’s marvelous wisdom. To make manifest in its life and character the "excellencies" of its Maker-Redeemer, so that the principalities and the authorities may, indeed, see this wisdom is, therefore, part of the church’s Lofty Goal." (HK NTC)
God's wisdom is shown to "principalities and authorities." These are angels, both the fallen and those who serve God.
The church exists to unite people, in this case Paul spoke about Jews and Gentile believers. Once they believed in Christ, they became one Body. This is the Church. This is Christ's Church. In Christ, there is no Jew or Gentile; no slave or free, we are one in Christ. (Galatians 3:28) According to St. Paul this fact shows the "manifold" or multifaceted wisdom of God. Regarding the word "multifaceted" it is said,
""Manifold" (polypoikilos) is a poetical adjective meaning "very varied." Euripides used it of multicolored cloth and Eubulus of flowers. Nowadays it is a technical term in geology, specifying unusually assorted crystals. The wisdom of God displayed in creation and embodied in Christ is a many- splendored thing, iridescent with constantly unfolding beauties."
Chris's Church then, is to be comprised of people from all ethnicities. To put it in another way, Christ's Church does not consider ethnicity to be part of it. Why? Because the Church is not a human institution created by men. The Church is God's creation. It is made of those who He has called out (the ekklesia) from darkness into the light. In God's kingdom, worship will take place by all of those from every nation, tribe, people and language (Revelation 7:9-10). This shows God's multifaceted or multicolored wisdom.
Here a clear explanation on this passage:
"Given God’s incredible work of reconciling two hostile groups into one organic body, the church is the perfect means to display God’s wisdom. Insofar as the church exists as a spiritually united multiethnic community, it accomplishes this task..." (ZSB Notes)

This brings about the question, is the church now a "spiritually united multiethnic community" that displays God's wisdom? I believe we are not. America is becoming more multiethnic as the years pass but it seems that the Church continues to be isolated whereas our calling involves sharing the Gospel with everyone regardless of ethnicity, language or culture. I often imagine what a powerful testimony it would be for the world (and principalities and authorities) to see the Church reflecting the diversity of our communities. Not only this, but the Church engaging our communities with the Gospel of Christ and spreading His love through our hands and feet.

I believe this is something achievable. We can do this if we as the Church of Christ obey him and are faithful disciples who share the Gospel with everyone.


 

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