Tuesday, July 28, 2009

For What Reason?

Sunday's [three-year] epistle was from Ephesians 3 and began, "For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His grace, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man."

One thing Pastor has taught us is to go back and look for the reason preceding a "therefore" ... because it matters.

Since the previous verse says, "Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory," I'm wondering if that's what "for this reason" refers back to. Paul is praying that God would strengthen his hearers ... because it shakes them up when they see his suffering for the sake of ministering to them??? It would make sense.

But then you've got another "therefore" at the beginning of verse 13. Why doesn't Paul want his hearers to lose heart? Because God has all this grace and love to pour out on the world, not just on the Jews, but on the Gentiles too. And He sends Paul so that this wisdom can go out into all the world. And Paul's saying, "Look at this awesome mystery of how expansive is God's love in Christ, and don't let it scandalize you that I might suffer a little as I'm preaching it all over the place."

I don't know about you, but for me, looking at the first half of the chapter altogether changes how the second half of the chapter sounds. Almost like as if they were plagued in the first century with a desire for the theology of glory that their pastors were trying to save them from.

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