For two wonderful chapters Paul outlines the gospel of God, where believers have been placed in union with Christ.. such that Jew and gentiles together have become one body – one new man in Christ.
He started to explain that his imprisonment was for the sake of this gospel which he reminded them was specially and uniquely revealed from God to the Church – through Paul himself. He then began to point out the importance of this new, special administration – which he described as, “the dispensation of the grace of God’, and which we often call the ‘Church age’.
Paul pointed out that before this new administration of God’s grace was revealed to him, it had been a mystery – a truth known only in the mind of God.. a truth that had been hidden for ages and generations – a mystery that was now to be unveiled to all who believe on the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
And Paul had been made a minister of this mystery by God – a mystery which was to be given to the Church through him, in a similar way that Moses had been made a minister of the Law.. which was given to Israel many centuries earlier.
Paul was God’s specially chosen vessel through whom this mystery would be revealed. He was chosen to be a minister or a servant of this mystery – which is ‘Christ in you the hope of glory’. This new revelation from God had been unknown in ages past and was unique to believers in this dispensation of the grace of God. And Paul breaks into his own dialogue, in order to give a clearer understanding of what this new revelation means for all who believe in Christ for salvation – while emphasising that this mystery was given to him by divine revelation.
The word mystery in our time has taken on a completely new, esoteric, mystical or mysterious meaning, but in the Bible a mystery simply means a hidden truth – but one that man could never have discovered on his own, unless God Himself had revealed it. And Paul was now explaining in detail that this mystery was given to him by revelation from God Himself – a hidden truth that was NOW to be made known to the Church – through Paul and Christ’s other apostles. And although Paul had touched on areas connected with the mystery earlier in his epistle, he now takes about 12 whole verses to explain in detail its incredible significance to all.. who by grace through faith have been placed in union with Christ Jesus our Lord.