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Volume 11 - Page 136 of 161 Index | Zoom | |
Reverting for a moment to Acts 20:, another most important item of truth appears in
the apostle's words recorded in verse 32:--
"And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to THAT WORD OF HIS GRACE,
which is able to build you up (Eph. 2: 20), and to give you an inheritance among all those
having been sanctified."
He is leaving these believers, never to see their faces again; he looks forward to his
ministry of the gospel of the GRACE of God; he commends them to that word of His
GRACE, and in Eph. 3: 2 follows his reference to being the prisoner of Christ Jesus for
the Gentiles by saying, "If ye have heard of the dispensation of the GRACE of God
which is given me to you-ward". It would seem that these Ephesian elders were prepared
to anticipate in the unfolding of God's purpose some further revelation of His grace, and
such indeed the epistle which bears the name "to the Ephesians" proved to be. Our
suggestion is that the apostle does not refer the Ephesians to the Scriptures in general, but
to that Word of grace shortly to be announced through this very apostle who was then on
the eve of bonds and imprisonment.
In coming back to our original verse (Eph. 3: 1) we are better able to appreciate both
the context which precedes and succeeds the statement that Paul was the prisoner of
Christ Jesus for the Gentiles. Chapter 2: had made the profound revelation of the grace
of God manifested to the far off Gentiles, so full, so rich, that such who were hopeless
and Godless in the world become a holy temple in the Lord and the very body of Christ.
Chapter 3: continues, as a direct outcome of the statement in verse 1, to speak of the
new dispensation given to the apostle under which such blessings were alone possible,
viz., "the dispensation of the grace of God", "the dispensation of the mystery".
FOR YOU GENTILES (Eph. 3: 1).
pp. 177 - 179
We have noticed the meaning and purport of the title of the apostle when he called
himself the prisoner of Christ Jesus. This however is not a complete statement, he does
not simply say that he was the prisoner of Christ Jesus, but that he was such "For you
Gentiles." This is equally true with regard to his next statement. In verse 2 he not only
says, "since ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God", but qualifies that
statement with the words, "which is given me to you ward". This was the apostle's one
real mission, all else was subsidiary, preparatory and temporary.
In Acts 9: 15 Ananias is instructed concerning Paul, "He is a chosen vessel unto Me,
to bear My name before the Gentiles". The first missionary journey of Paul, separated by
the Holy Spirit for the work, was to the Gentiles--Galatians indeed of the southern
portion of the province (Acts 13:, 14:). His first miracle and his closing warning
(13: 6-12, 13: 45-48), emphasize the apostasy of Israel and the blessing of the
Gentiles. After Acts 14: until Acts 21: the apostle works among the Gentiles, but in