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Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Gospel According to Paul # 22

In His Letter to the Ephesians (continued)

A Letter of Superlatives (continued)

And what more shall I say about the 'super'? The list could very easily be extended. Have I said enough? Can I go on pointing out in what a realm this is, what a range? You see, you have some very great words here. I give you three of them.

"Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, was this grace given, to preach unto the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ" (3:8).

This letter is written in terms of the unsearchable, the untraceable.

" ... and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye may be filled unto all the fullness of God" (3:19).

"The knowledge-surpassing love of Christ". Here we have the incomprehensible.

"Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us..." (3:20).

Here is the transcendental. These are big words, but you need big words throughout for this letter, and I am seeking to make an impression upon you.

The Great Crisis In Religious History

Now, let us come more to the inward side of this. This letter, in its content, represents perhaps the greatest crisis in religious history. That is saying a great deal. There have been many crises in religious history, and very big ones, but this letter represents the greatest of them all. Before the Lord Jesus was raised from the dead and went to Heaven, and the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost, there were only two classes of people on earth. The whole human race was divided into two classes of people, the Gentiles and the Jews. When the Holy Spirit came, a third class came into being which, from God's standpoint, is neither Gentile nor Jew: it is the Church of God. They were taken out of nations of Gentiles and taken out from among the Jews, but, so far as God is concerned, they are neither Jew nor Gentile, or as Paul puts it, "neither Jew nor Greek" (Galatians 3:28). "Greek" was a representative word comprehends the Gentiles. When the Lord Jesus comes again, as He is coming, and takes the Church away, the two others will remain here. There will be a reversion in the earth to what was before. The whole world will be divided again into Gentiles and Jews.

So this that came into being on the day of Pentecost, this third and spiritually quite separate class of people called the Church, represents the greatest of all crises in human history for this reason, and in this way - that that Church is not something just of earthly history. The Apostle makes it perfectly clear, right at the beginning of this Ephesian letter, that this Church had its existence in the foreknowledge of God before the world was. This Church is a super-temporal thing, transcending all time and transcending the earth. This Church, the Apostle makes clear, super-earthly, when Jews and Gentiles go on. Yes, there will be saved nations in the earth: but this other goes on in a relationship which is altogether outside of this world and outside of time; and it is concerning this particular class, this people, this Church which takes the character of all these superlatives. This is itself something superlative, this is the supreme thing in the economy of God, this is the supreme thing in all God's sovereign activities from eternity to eternity. We live in the dispensation of something absolutely transcendent - God taking out of the nations, both Jew and Gentile, this people called the Church, which is "the body of Christ."

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 23 - (A Superlative Vessel and A Superlative Calling)

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