A Look Back

1 When I think of all this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the benefit of you Gentiles . . . 2 assuming, by the way, that you know God gave me the special responsibility of extending his grace to you Gentiles. 3 As I briefly wrote earlier, God himself revealed his mysterious plan to me. 4 As you read what I have written, you will understand my insight into this plan regarding Christ. 5 God did not reveal it to previous generations, but now by his Spirit he has revealed it to his holy apostles and prophets.

8 Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ. 9 I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning.

Paul interrupts his train of thought to mention the way God had met him and sent him to spread the news of who Jesus is to the Gentiles (non-Jewish people).  The "plan" that he continuously refers to "regards Christ."  In other words, the plan God has now revealed was the way the Jesus would save and empower His people.

6 And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus. By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News.

Again, Paul is reiterating what he has stated before: in Christ we all have equal access to God's blessings in Christ.  We are part of the same body of Jesus followers, with access to the same benefits in Christ, regardless of our past differences.

10 God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.

12 Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. 13 So please don’t lose heart because of my trials here. I am suffering for you, so you should feel honored.

Paul reinforces that we can come boldly and confidently into God's presence.  But here he also mentioned perseverance through trials and circumstances.  Paul tells the believers to not lose heart because of his imprisonment in Rome.  Even in suffering, we have confident access to the presence of God because of Christ.

SO WHAT

Paul spends the bulk of this text mentioning how God chose to use him to reveal who Jesus is to the Gentiles.  By reflecting on who Paul is and what Jesus has done in his life, Paul comes to appreciate the power of Jesus at work in Him.  For Jesus followers today, we can engage in the same reflection: looking at who we once were and looking ahead at who Jesus is making us.  Regardless of our present circumstances, we can be confident that God is working in us and will bring to completion the new thing He is doing in us. (Philippians 1:6)

  • How has God changed you from who you once were?
  • What circumstances are currently influencing the way you find your identity?

PRAY

  • Reflect on who you used to be and who God is making you into.
  • Thank God for revealing who He is to you.
  • Ask God to give you confidence and boldness in Christ, regardless of what circumstance you may be facing.