7 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. 8 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, 9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.
The gift of God’s Grace.
Paul became a minister of the gospel not because of anything he had done but by the gift of God’s grace. He persecuted the church and agreed to the stoning of the first Christian martyr, Stephen (Acts 8:1). Paul knew he did not deserve to be a servant of Christ but the Lord called him. He genuinely felt the least of all the saints. The gift of God’s grace should make us aware that we have nothing to offer God. We are totally reliant on the grace of God. We have no power in ourselves. The only way we can preach the gospel is by His grace by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Paul turned from his own ways to Christ and followed Him. But even this was a gift of God’s grace.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, (Ephesians 2:8)
Paul obtained salvation by the working of God’s power in Christ. Paul had a sense of humility before God which is absolutely necessary. He felt he was the least of all the saints. Jesus said “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Mathew 23:12). Paul fell to his knees before the resurrected Christ who then, by the gift of God’s grace, empowered Paul to preach the gospel.
The unsearchable riches of Christ.
Paul preached to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. What does that mean? Did Jesus have expensive treasures hidden away on earth. Well in a way yes – us. God created mankind in His image (Genesis 1:27) so that mankind would be compatible with the very nature of God. We mentioned previously that God chose to dwell in man. Christ in us the hope of glory:
To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)
Christ dwelling in us and us living in Him is the great mystery. The unsearchable riches of Christ is that because of His sacrifice God could place the Holy Spirit inside us. Bringing the very person of Christ into our hearts. Joining us to the Lord in one spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17). We are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). Made one with Christ (John 17:21), every member of the church manifesting the glory of God in Christ. The Jewish believers had to come to terms with the inclusion of the Gentiles.
The Mystery Hidden for Ages.
Paul mentioned earlier the mystery that the Gentiles were “fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (Ephesians 3:6). Is this the same mystery he is referring to here? Yes I think the mystery of God pouring His Spirit into the Gentiles. However right at the end of the letter to the Romans Paul refers to a mystery again:
5 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26 but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— 27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen. (Romans 16:25-27)
There is not just one mystery. The very plan of salvation was a mystery until the revelation of Christ. God has always revealed mysterys:
The king answered and said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery.” (Daniel 2:47)
The Manifold Wisdom of God.
We have to bow to the hugely extensive, multi faceted wisdom of God. He is the only wise God (Romans 16:27). He gives the Spirit of Wisdom (Isaiah 11:2). Christ is now our wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:30) and the source of all our wisdom (Colossians 3:16). We need to ask God for wisdom (James 1:5).
God in His wisdom brings the light of the gospel to the world through the church made up of both Jews and Gentiles. This gospel, the message of victory over sin and death declared to the rulers and authorities in the spiritual worlds.