Prisoner or Free

In Ephesians 3:1-8,  we read, “For this reason, I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— you have heard, haven’t you, about the administration of God’s grace that He gave to me for you?  The mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have briefly written above.  By reading this you are able to understand my insight about the mystery of the Messiah.  This was not made known to people in other generations as it is now revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit:  The Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and partners of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.  I was made a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace that was given to me by the working of His power.  This grace was given to me—the least of all the saints—to proclaim to the Gentiles the incalculable riches of the Messiah,”

The Apostle Paul, imprisoned in Rome, chained to a Roman soldier day and night – could not possibly forget that he was in prison.  Yet, he identified himself as a prisoner of Christ, (Vs. 1), NOT a prisoner of Rome.  Paul refused to have a victim mentality.  Instead, he used his time, trusting God and  thanking Him for an opportunity to spread the Gospel.

Corrie Ten Boom (http://www.corrietenboom.com/index.html) said that where ever she was, that was where God wanted her to share the Gospel, even in a German concentration camp.

As Paul described his ministry to the Gentiles (Vs. 2), he was saying that his service was an expression of God’s Grace.  Paul was a Jew.  And when he met Christ on the road to Damascus, he was given a sudden flash of revelation.  It was to the Gentiles that God was sending him, to open their eyes so they would turn from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God, receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those sanctified by faith in Christ.

In vs. 1, Paul had begun a prayer for his Ephesian readers but suddenly in vs. 3, he changes course and speaks about the MYSTERY that was in Christ and about his own sense of responsibility to make known to the world that wonderful mystery.
In modern terms we think of a mystery as something we might see on TV, Murder She Wrote or NCIS….  But in the Biblical sense it is something that was previously  unknown, but now known and something that was hidden in the past but now revealed.

Paul paid a huge price in serving The LORD. He wrote of some of his sufferings at the hands of the Jews in 2 Corinthians 11:24 & 25.  He was lashed, beaten with rods, and even stoned and yet he considered the privilege to share the Gospel with the Gentiles a gift of God’s Grace.

Paul refers to his entire ministry as that of being a servant, a minister or a deacon, one who tends to the needs of others. Paul had a genuine sense of unworthiness to be saved or to serve God. 1 Tim. 1:13 says that he was “formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor and a arrogant man”. In fact, it had been on his orders that Steven had been stoned to death. So he was a murderer as well. 

 
Even with God’s miraculous intervention in his life, he considered himself, “the least of all the saints.” 

Join me as I ask myself, how am I serving Christ today?

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