“So that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.” ~Ephesians 3:10-12
That we as Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body and partakers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel (verse 6) is a HUGE shift in philosophy and reality since creation until Jesus! There are instances of Gentiles in relationship with God in the Old Testament but the pursuit was of the Jews as His people through whom to display His glory.
God had a plan. A plan He had hidden for ages it says in verse 9. The plan was to display His great, unsurpassed wisdom to all rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. Your life and my life display the wisdom of God. Not in what we do, what we achieve in our weak worldly wisdom, don’t get lost in that.
We display His great pre-eminent wisdom, planned from the beginning of creation to ransom His people from the darkness of sin and death. And satan and his horde and all the heavenly beings know it. The redeemed church is the vehicle through which God glorifies Himself and declares with a shout His wisdom and His eternal purpose in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. We have talked about who we are in Christ, what we’ve been given with our salvation and now we are the display of His wisdom. There are times when I need that reminder, my life, my family is the church. We are God’s declaration of His wisdom to the heavenly places. Anger defuses, selfishness fades, deceit diminishes, pride deflates in light of the Gospel. When I remind myself of what Christ has done for me or when I sit with my wayward child and speak of His sacrifice, His blood shed and all that was offered at the cross, flesh is given the opportunity to die. And in the spiritual world, angels rejoice and the enemy cringes.
But now with Jesus, the Gospel swings wide the door to God – not just for entry but for deep, close intimacy that allows us to have boldness and access with confidence to God. Jesus was a complete game changer.
Up until Jesus, no one had access to God except the high priest who only had access once a year into the presence of God. He would step behind a curtain within the temple (or Tent of Meeting as the Jews often called it) into the Holy of Holies where he would offer the blood of a bull and goat for the sins of himself and the people. God’s presence would be evident that day within the Holy of Holies. The sins of the people and the uncleanliness of the temple would be atoned for one more year, a temporary cleansing.
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption…Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins…But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. ~Hebrews 9:11-12, 22, 26b.
Look at what Jesus did! He as the great High Priest became the sacrifice that we may be forgiven eternally. And His great wise plan doesn’t end there – we have full access, not once a year through someone else. We are invited and welcomed into the presence of God, before His throne. No need to clean up or fix anything, Jesus has cleansed us with His blood; no need to achieve something first or get rid of a weakness, all that needed to be done was accomplished by Jesus.
Paul says in Ephesians we have boldness and access with confidence. Boldness in this passage is a free and fearless confidence, a cheerful courage in my relationship with God because of the gospel. Hebrews 4:16 and Hebrews 10:19-22 are parallel scriptures that also declare that we are welcome in God’s presence. The absolute assurance that I am welcome in God’s presence should be the underpinning of how I walk out my day. There is no need for pretense or trepidation. So on the days I have wrecked relationships in my home, I am welcomed by Him. He brings conviction and healing and restoration that far surpass my weak attempts. On the days I have walked triumphantly, I am welcomed by Him. He alone receives the glory for changing me that I could walk in a manner pleasing to Him.
How many times have I experienced my own children being fearlessly confident before me, standing assured of my acceptance and love and laying out needs, desires, or even their pain or failure? Do I spend my day with my Father in the same bold way? We are welcomed into His presence, our requests are listened to and gathered Scripture says into bowls of incense, and our tears treasured in bottles. His ear is inclined to us and His face turned to us. This unearned, undeserved, grace given position in your presence, God, declares your wisdom that You may be glorified.