Useful Bible Studies > Ephesians Commentary > chapter 3

The revelation of God’s plans for the Gentiles

Ephesians 3:3-4

A ‘revelation’ means something that God shows to a person. In Galatians 1:12, Paul refers to a revelation that he received from Christ himself, and not from any person. Nobody had taught it to Paul; it was Christ who showed it to Paul.

That revelation was the discovery of God’s plans for the Gentiles (the people who do not belong to Israel). Paul calls these things a ‘mystery’ because God had permitted Paul to know God’s own thoughts (compare 1 Corinthians 2:9:10). Even God’s people had not fully understood these things in the past. However, now God makes them clear to everyone who desires to know them.

Paul described God’s plans for the Gentiles in a previous letter to the Christians in Ephesus. We do not still have that letter, but Paul teaches about the same subjects in several of his other letters. There, Paul explains that the Gentiles have not replaced Israel in God’s plans (Romans 11:1 and 11:26-29). Rather, at this time, God urges everyone, from every nation including Israel, to put their trust in Christ (Romans 10:9-13). God will accept everyone who does that; he makes them into his holy people (2:11-19), the children of God (Romans 8:14-19). This promise is for both Jews (Israel’s people) and Gentiles (all other people): they all can have a right relationship with God if they put their trust in Christ. God has prepared a home for them, Jews and Gentiles alike, in heaven. God will even make them citizens of the New Jerusalem, his wonderful and perfect city from heaven. There, the people, both Jews and Gentiles, who have put their trust in him, will always live with him (Revelation 21:1-7).

Next part: Can Gentiles have a right relationship with God? (Ephesians 3:5-6)


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© 2019, Keith Simons.