In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
(Ephesians 1:7-10 NIV)
As previously stated, verses 3 through 14 in this first chapter of Ephesians are one long sentence in the original Greek. In this sentence Paul mentions blessing after blessing that God graciously gives to those who accept His offer to be adopted into His family.
Wisdom and understanding are two more of these blessings. The word “wisdom” in Greek is σοπηια (pronounced: sof-ee’-ah). This is general intelligence about eternal things. “Understanding” is πηρονεσισ (pronounced: fron’-ay-sis) which means intelligence about day-to-day living. This means that God has given us the ability to comprehend Him (to some extent) and what He is doing in our lives.
People who lived under the Old Testament did not have this knowledge. They did not see the big picture. But now God has revealed this information to those who believe. God shares what only He knows with those who are His children [John 1:12]. How cool is that?!
The word mystery here is important. Our culture misunderstands this word. When we think of a mystery we think of something secret and dark – something unknowable. We think of a mystery as something to be solved such as in a Sherlock Holmes story.
But the original Greek word, μυστεριον (pronounced: moos-tay’-ree-on), means something that was not previously known but which has been revealed. The mystery is not the thing unknown. It is the thing that was once unknown but is now known. The difference is subtle, but important. God’s purpose for the world (which we’ll read about tomorrow) has been revealed to New Testament believers.
Nonbelievers cannot know this truth [2 Corinthians 4:4] as it is only revealed through Jesus [2 Corinthians 3:14]. What seems right to the world is actually wrong [Proverbs 14:12; Matthew 7:13-14; 1 Corinthians 1:27-28, et. al]. Before anyone, such as myself, came to know Christ, they think incorrectly. But at the moment they are born-again God gives them insight into what He is doing. And it is “His good pleasure” to do so.
God enjoys revealing truth to us. If you have children you know what joy there is in watching them learn to walk and talk and ride a bike. We are made in God’s image. Just like any parent, He enjoys teaching His children and seeing us learn too.
To that end, God does not hold back. He is willing to give more wisdom to any of His children who ask for it [Proverbs 2:6; James 1:5].
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