11 “This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.” (Ephesians 3:11–12 (ESV)
The examination of the Apostle Paul’s extended parenthesis prior to his prayer on behalf of the Ephesian believers continues with today’s text. The entire doctrine of the unity of Jews and Gentiles in Christ (Ephesians 3:2-10) was not an afterthought with God.
On the contrary, the mystery previously undisclosed concerning the makeup of the church was according to God’s eternal purpose. In other words, the Lord did not have in mind the unity of all believers in Christ as a Plan B. Rather, He planned and set forth this truth before time began.
God’s eternal plan for both people groups would be historically, and redemptively, realized (ποιέω; poieo) or fulfilled in the person and work of Jesus Christ. It is He alone who was, and is, the mediator of this New Covenant (I Timothy 2:5-6).
It is due to this work of God, through Jesus Christ, that all believers in Christ, Jew or Gentile, have access to God the Father (Hebrews 4:14-16). The Apostle Paul stated that believers presently and actively have boldness and access with confidence in Christ.
Boldness (παρρησία; parresia) means to have confidence and courage. Access (προσαγωγή; prosagage) means to have the right to speak. Confidence (πεποίθησις; pepoithesis) is a reference to our faith in the One, True God. It means to have trust in, commitment to, dependence or confidence upon, and the honor and worship of the Lord.
These privileges each believer possesses is explicitly because of our faith alone in Christ alone, which ultimately is because of God’s grace alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). We must never fail to remember this eternal truth.
Nineteenth century theologian Charles Hodge writes, “The purpose of God to make provision for the redemption men has been fulfilled in the incarnation and death of His Son. As the consequence of this accomplished work, we have in Him boldness and access with confidence, i.e. free and unrestricted access to God as children to a father.”
Believers in Christ may confidently approach God the Father and adore Him, confess sin to Him, submit requests to Him, and express thanksgiving to Him. May each of us do so today. What a privilege is ours.
Soli deo Gloria!