His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.
. . .and from the Message:
Through followers of Jesus like yourselves gathered in churches, this extraordinary plan of God is becoming known and talked about even among the angels! All this is proceeding along lines planned all along by God and then executed in Christ Jesus. When we trust in him, we're free to say whatever needs to be said, bold to go wherever we need to go. So don't let my present trouble on your behalf get you down. Be proud!
|Paul at His Writing Desk, Rembrandt|
|Worship Painting by Jun Jamosmos|
Considering this grand plan, Paul draws a conclusion: when we trust in Jesus, we have freedom to approach God with boldness -- with confidence, knowing that this plan to save us through the ultimate sacrifice really did work and God accepts us as we are! (Hebrews 4:16) When we come to God through His Son we walk through the blood that cleanses us from unrighteousness and walk into the all embracing, never failing love of God.
In verse 13, Paul rounds off this lengthy parenthetical statement of the administration of God's grace that has been entrusted to him by reminding his audience that his imprisonment (first mentioned in vs. 1) should not bring them discouragement. It should instead bring them blessing and freedom. The Apostle Paul knew the messy-ness of people. He experienced the church with all its cracks and chips and flaws and stains and still believed in its potential to be a powerful force in the world -- just as God planned -- and he fought hard for her. He paid a big price for her growth and expansion. Paul saw his imprisonment, and all his sufferings for the gospel, as the price to be paid for the Gentiles to know the gospel. That's HUGE! How about you? Do you see any of your sufferings as an opportunity for others to know the gospel -- to know the love of Christ? I don't know. I tend to wallow a bit in my trials. Paul's life gives us much to think about.
|Worship by Miki De Goodaboom|
"I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted."
Job 42:2, NIV
Part of His Church,