Summary of passage: Paul was a prisoner while writing this letter so he begins stating that fact but he’s a prisoner for Christ, telling the Ephesian church God’s grace reveled by Spirit to God’s apostles and prophets for them–the mystery that through the gospel the Gentiles are now heirs together with Israel, members of one body, and sharers in the promise in Christ.
Paul says he is a servant of this gospel through God’s undeserved grace, commissioned to preach to the Gentiles Christ’s riches, and to reveal this mystery which had been hidden for so long until now; revealed to the rulers and authorities in heavenly realms for His eternal purpose in Christ Jesus. Only in him and through faith alone may we approach God with freedom and confidence. Paul says don’t be discouraged by my sufferings (imprisonment and impending trial) for they are your glory.
11a) Through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
b) God’s purpose in creating man was for us to walk by His side. When sin came, we were separated. So, God planned for Jesus so that once again we may walk by God’s side as Paul puts it “we may approach God with freedom and confidence” (verse 12).
12) Personal Question. My answer: Currently, I have no hopeless relationships in my life (I think this is a misnomer: no relationship is “hopeless” for God is there and He is definitely not hopeless). But in the past, I have had many difficult relationships when I was young and stupid. In the midst of it, it’s the worst thing in the world. But afterwards, there is peace since God is there. My comfort is in His plan for my life and the knowledge that those relationships weren’t meant for me for whatever reason God has.
Keeping God close through prayer and His word is all the encouragement I need in difficult times.
Conclusions: Paul, once again, is pointing out how God is everyone’s God now and to be encouraged in His plan for our lives and the life after this one. Paul emphasizes the church (verse 10) as the way Christ is to made known to all and how the “rulers and authorities in heavenly realms” will also learn this mystery “through the church”.
This is fascinating to me: that we are being watched and authorities in heaven (angels perhaps) are learning through us. Gives a whole other meaning to what we are doing here on Earth, doesn’t it?