Chapter three closes the major doctrinal section of this letter with three sections. The first section begins with “for this reason” (Ephesians 3:1), but Paul does not actually get to that reason until Ephesians 3:7 – “I became a servant of this gospel.” In Ephesians 3:2-6 Paul takes a side trail to explain why the information he gave about the Church at the end of chapter two (that believing Jews and Gentiles are now “fellow heirs, fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus”) had not been found in previous Scriptures. The reason was that it was new revelation, a “divine secret…made known to” Paul. It had not been “disclosed to people in former generations.” It is for that reason that Paul was a servant to that gospel, and his role was “to enlighten everyone about God’s secret plan” (or “mystery”) about the Church. Not only is salvation going to show God’s grace in the future (Ephesians 2:7-13), but the Church is also going to reveal God’s “multifaceted wisdom…to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly realms.” Therefore, Paul asked that they not get discouraged about what he was suffering.
The second section also begins with “for this reason” (Ephesians 3:14-19). Because of the great truths about the present and future of the Church, the apostle worshiped God and asked for yet another series of blessings for his readers: 1) that God would “grant [them] to be strengthened with power through the Spirit in the inner person”; 2) “that Christ may dwell in [their] hearts”; and 3) that they would “be able to comprehend…the breadth and length and height and depth” of Christ’s love. The ultimate goal of all of this, though, was that they would “be filled up to all the fullness of God.”
This thought caused Paul to end the first half of the letter with a short hymn of praise, exalting God and asking that he would be glorified in the Church forever. 1
- Ephesians is a treasure in revealing how Paul prayed for those he loved. Rarely are temporal or physical concerns mentioned; almost always his prayers were centered on God’s glory and their growth. ↩