Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 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.
(Ephesians 3:7-10 ESV)
Yesterday we read that Paul had been tasked, by God, to teach the Gentiles about the endless blessings they can have in Christ. The other thing God had tasked Paul to teach (bring to light) was His plan of creating one family from Jews and Gentiles.
Back then, and even today, the Jews believed that they are all going to heaven because they were chosen by God way back in Genesis and Exodus. Furthermore, they believe that heaven is only for Jews. They believe that anyone who does not convert to Judaism cannot enter heaven.
God created a nation of people (later called “Israel”) and incubated them in the land of Egypt. When the time was right, He brought them forth into their own land and gave them a bunch of rules to follow. These rules were meant to keep them separate from other nations and to also make them so distinct that their relationship with God would be noticeable and enticing to others.
At some point, however, Israel began to forget their purpose and began to believe that they – and only they – were loved by God. But God never intended for only Jews to go to heaven. When God abolished the Old Testament and replaced it with the New Testament this plan became clearer; it was no longer hidden.
The application for Christians today is to make sure that we don’t start to think like Israel did. Those of us who are already saved and are on our way to heaven are not special. We have done nothing to warrant the forgiveness of our sins. The fact that we are forgiven is totally the work of God’s grace and nothing more [Ephesians 2:8-9].
If we begin to forget this we run the risk of giving the erroneous impression that God’s family is exclusive. It is not. God’s invitation to join His family is open to everyone: Muslims/Buddhists/atheists, gay/straight, Democrats/Republicans and anyone with any other man-made label placed upon them.
Sadly, many of these people do think that the true God of the Bible is not available to them. They certainly didn’t get that impression from God Himself as the Bible is very clear they are welcome.
God makes the same invitation to everyone: if one agrees that he/she is a sinner in need of a savior and accepts the fact that Jesus was that Savior who paid the penalty for their sins, then God will impart total forgiveness to that person. All their sins – past, present, and future – will be erased thereby granting them the privilege of entering heaven [Isaiah 43:25; Micah 7:19; Acts 3:19]
It is the job of every Christian living today, to “bring to light” to everyone the fact that God is inviting them into His eternal family.
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