Grace Producing Administration

Read: Ephesians 3:1-13

The idea of studying the Bible through the lens of grace is to help us understand more clearly how grace absolutely affects every area of our lives. The title of today’s devotional may have caught your attention simply because of the word, administration. Some of us are bent toward giftings in administration or management, we enjoy being given something to impart to others. And this is exactly what Paul is talking about in Ephesians 3.

Let’s dive right in.

After reading the passage for today I did a quick word search of administration. In other versions we will find the words, fellowship, dispensation, or, stewardship used in place of administration . Word meanings which are associated with these include: community, relationship, distribution, management, overseeing, protection.

What other words can you find that are related to administration?

When I began unpacking the meanings and the grammar associated with administration it became very apparent that people are a huge part of the process of administrating. All too often those who are given opportunity to oversee or manage something forget about the people on the other side of their task. And those are the managers who most people would say lack grace. We have all been there in some way, shape, or form. Either as an administrator who distributes tasks as a task master, or one who has taken administration from another out of duty and obligation in a job or relationship (ie; the “task-doer”).

What experiences have you had in dealing with administration or management?

When we consider administration almost everyone will immediately go to an employment situation. We seldom consider it when thinking of our homes, or our relationships, or our own lives. And I can guarantee we never associate it with evangelizing or sharing the gospel with people we love. We almost always associate administration with a job. But understanding the importance of administration in our lives on every level will help us walk in grace in every area.

Now that we’ve looked at our typical mindset about administration, let’s consider what administration looks like for every believer according to Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles in Ephesians 3.

Take a look at these verses from our scripture passage:

“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…By reading this you are able to understand my insight about the mystery of the Messiah…this grace was given to me – the least of all the saints – to proclaim to the Gentiles…and to shed light for all about the administration of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things.”

Ephesians 3:1-9

Now let’s look at a passage from Proverbs 25:

“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter and the glory of kings to investigate a matter. As the heaven is high and the earth is deep, so the hearts of kings cannot be investigated. Remove impurities from silver, and a vessel will be produced for a silversmith. Remove the wicked from the King’s presence, and his throne will be established in righteousness.”

Proverbs 25:2-5

Did you notice similar ideas involving mysteries (concealing matters) needing to be investigated in these two passages? This idea that God has concealed things from us is foundational for differing theological ideas regarding God’s sovereignty – the belief that God does not reveal things to us in order to keep us from being overwhelmed, or that He will not reveal His glory in full until we are in His presence in heaven. That is not a subject we are going to cover in this devotion today, although it does provide hefty conversation. Instead, we are going to focus on the mystery Paul is speaking of in Ephesians. The mystery God conceals in the Old Testament is plainly revealed in the New Testament through the life of Christ Jesus. Although it is a comforting idea that we will never understand all of the things that happen in this life, I strongly believe that the mysteries Solomon speaks of in Proverbs 25 are NOT aimed at our individual life, but that they are the same mysteries and matters Paul speaks of almost 30 generations later that focus on others.

Something important to understand when looking at either of the above scripture is that Jesus had been concealed to the Jews of the Old Testament. And in the New Testament, Jesus was revealed to both the Jews and the Gentiles. Without the revelation of Jesus and God’s grace given, the “hearts of kings” could not be investigated (Proverbs 25:3). That job was given to the Holy Spirit (John 16:8-9). Paul’s ministry was to bring the revelation of the Christ and the hope of God’s glory, and the power of the Holy Spirit, to the Jew and the Gentile. The revelation of this mystery should be what fuels our own personal ministry. It is this revelation that fuels Braving Grace.

Paul’s motivation to administer this grace God gave was so we could understand His eternal purpose accomplished through the Messiah, Jesus our Lord (Ephesians 3:11). We see a glimpse of that in what was being spoken of in Proverbs 25:4-5. “Remove impurities from silver, and a vessel will be produced for a silversmith. Remove wicked from the king’s presence, and his throne will be established in righteousness.”

Look at 2 Corinthians 5:21

“He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

How does this verse tie in with Proverbs 24:5?

Through the refining process silver is able to be formed and fashioned into something functional. The wickedness spoken of in Proverbs 25 is a picture of sinful impurity. God whispered a mystery into Solomon’s ear the day he wrote that verse, I have no doubt. “When I deal with wickedness once and for all, you will become my righteousness. I promise. Just see what I will do.” And centuries later, Paul wrote about that same mystery revealed by way of the person of Christ Jesus, Son of Man – the promise fulfilled!

Remember, our goal at Braving Grace is to inspire and encourage you to read the Word, study the Word, and activate the Word into your life through the lens of grace. The mystery of God is not hidden from us any longer. The mystery has been revealed – Jesus! Our goal in life as believers should not be to spend years and years searching out God’s plan or purpose for our lives. You can read it right here in Ephesians 3, even if you were to look no further: “This grace was given to me to proclaim to the Gentiles the incalcuable riches of the Messiah and to shed light for all….” And it wasn’t just for Paul. In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul clearly states what we are to do with his teachings when he said, “You are to imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.” In Ephesians 3 we see Paul laying out another great example of administrating and managing Braving Grace in our lives.

When you truly understand what you have been given, you cannot help but want to administer that grace and truth to others. It’s a process, and in that process He will continue the refining He began in you. Paul says in this chapter – “This grace was given to me – the least of all the saints,” – acknowledging that although he was given a great gift, he too was in process. Just like it didn’t stop him from Braving Grace and sharing this message with the world, we can imitate him and do the same.

I pray you were inspired and encouraged by this week’s study. Our chief aim is it would spark a fire under you to dig in deeper to the Word of God, and walk in strength Braving Grace!

To study on Your Own:

  • Read Ephesians 3
  • Highlight the following words (and/or words similar): grace, mercy, peace, faith, love, wisdom, salvation
  • Memorize Ephesians 3:16-21
  • Search scripture to find other passages or verses that correlate with Ephesians 3:1-13
  • Share your thoughts and something new you learned in the comments below
  • If you don’t have a good study Bible or study supplies hop on over to our Bible Study Supplies page and see what we suggest; links are available for your convenience.

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