‘His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms’ (Ephesians 3:10 NIV)
What do you think of when you hear the word ‘church?’ Today we have the ‘virtual church,’ the ‘liquid church,’ the ‘messy church,’ the ‘domesticated church’ (alright I made that one up), and a whole host of other ‘churches.’ For the Apostle Paul the church is ‘the wisdom of God.’ God’s specific intention for the church is to make abundantly clear the multitudinous wisdom of God, and not just to the watching world but to the ‘the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.’ This is God’s eternal purpose in Christ Jesus (v.11). In the context of this chapter, and the wider letter to the Ephesians, this ‘wisdom’ that is to be shown is the bringing together of Jews and Gentiles as one in unity, prefiguring the bringing together of all things, when everything will be all-in-all in God
(1 Corinthians 15:28).
The significance of this cannot be over stated. All of humanity has been included in the reconciling work of Christ and his church is to be the place where witness is given of this inclusion. The church is for all people, no matter what colour or ethnic background, no matter what gender or age, no matter what our status in society, we are all one in Christ Jesus
(Galatians 3:28). The diverse unity we have with each other is the mystery of the church (Ephesians 3:6), and the church is the vehicle through which God will speak a prophetic word of reconciliation to the cosmos. Through our existence as a community of believers our multi-coloured, multi-cultured church, fitly woven together, heralds the gospel message of reconciliation even to heavenly rulers and powers. This explains why these powers want to cause dissension and disunity within the church, for we wrestle not with flesh and blood but with ‘the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms’ (Ephesians 6:12). These powers hate the church because we are a prophecy of the reconciliation to come, but nothing will prevent this manifold unity from coming about.
Our unity in church is more than just being able to get along with people that we don’t particularly like; it’s part of God’s wise word of reconciliation to the cosmos. So to the church Paul urges, ‘…live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace’
(Ephesians 4:1–3) because this will be to God’s glory in the church
Father, take away whatever may hinder us from godly union so we may be united in one love and with one heart glorify you through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Have a unifying week,