8 “Which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” (Ephesians 1:8–10 (ESV)
The Apostle Paul reinserts God the Father’s ministry in the salvation of sinners in Ephesians 1:8-10. We previously studied Ephesians 1:8 in our last lesson. Today, we examine Ephesians 1:9.
God the Father has made known to believers in Christ the mystery of His will. The phrase making known (γνωρίζω; gnorizo) means to reveal or to cause information to be known by someone. The wisdom and insight believers have concerning their salvation in Christ is due to the Father’s initiative in making such revelation known to the individual believer.
This information God has revealed concerns the mystery of His will, according to His purpose. Let’s unpack these two phrases.
The word mystery (μυστήριον; myserion) refers to a secret. The secret, within this particular context, concerns God the Father’s will. The word will (θέλημα; thelema) means a desire or a purpose and intention. The word purpose (εὐδοκία; eudokia) indicates that which is pleasing. Therefore, God has chosen to reveal to the church what His pleasing purpose is with respect to our salvation in Christ.
Dr. R. C. Sproul comments that, “For Paul, ‘mystery’ was not a conundrum impenetrable for finite human reason, but a truth previously and partially hidden that is now fully revealed through the coming of Christ.”
The final phrase in Ephesians 1:9 is which he set forth in Christ. Once again the subject is God the Father. He set forth (προτίθημι; protithemi) or planned beforehand his pleasing purpose to justify sinners solely by grace alone, through faith alone, in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone. As already noted, this occurred before the creation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).
Theologian Charles Hodge concludes our study with these words. “The wisdom and understanding which God has so abundantly communicated, includes both the objective revelation and the subjective apprehension of it. This is the third great blessing of which the context treats. The first is election; the second is redemption; the third is this revelation both outward and inward. The first is the work of God, the everlasting Father; the second the work of the Son; the third is the work of the Holy Spirit, who thus applies to believers the redemption purchased by Christ.”
Soli deo Gloria!