Reading: Ephesians 3: 1-12
Verse Seven: “I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of His power”.
Paul writes to us from a prison cell. He has been arrested and sent off to Rome to stand trial for proclaiming the gospel. There is plenty of evidence to convict him. If Christianity was suddenly made illegal, would there have been enough evidence in your life this past week for you to be arrested?
Paul is writing during a time of persecution – not only for himself but for the church in general. The Romans and the Jews are both hostile to the church, yet it continues to grow. The same is true today on both levels. In general, society is hostile towards the church. In some places the hostility is negative opinions and maybe some relatively light consequences of standing for your faith. In other places the hostility includes violence and hatred and even death. Yet, even in these places where being a Christian can mean death, the church grows. Why?
The church grows and always will grow for one simple reason: Jesus has the power to change lives. This is the undeniable fact of faith. This is one of the “unsearchable riches” that Paul writes of. It is that ‘thing’ that a faithful follower has that causes someone to say, ‘I want some of that’.
In verse six Paul writes of our inclusion into the family of God. This includes all people of all nations and opens us all up to the promises found in Christ. Paul then goes on to write, “I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of His power”. This is true of all believers. God’s grace is a gift, freely given to all who call on Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. It is the power of God through the Holy Spirit that works in us to justify and sanctify us. In this process of being made right with God and of becoming more and more like Jesus that we find ourselves as Paul did, servants to the gospel. It is by humbly serving God with our time, prayers, presence, gifts, and witness that we accumulate evidence of our faith. In that sense, may we be as guilty as possible!