His resurrection from the dead. 4. Christ is the King that extends His pardon to the criminal led forth to execution (Luke 23:43). Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints - This is one of the class of expressions unique to Paul. Preach among the Gentiles—Especially; as Peter among the Jews, Galatians 1:16. Having found peace through the blood of the Cross himself, we may be sure he would always tell the story of the Cross to others. None in your own family circle appreciate you and treat you as Christ does. So, then, let us this morning make an effort to appreciate the resources open to us in the unsearchable riches of Christ. Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. I. II. Paul believed in “the unsearchable riches of Christ.” We shall never recover his enthusiasm as long as we dwell chiefly on the external and incidental benefits which follow the acceptance of the Christian gospel. Rather than thinking God owed him something, Paul regarded God"s entrusting him with the gospel as pure grace, unmerited favor (cf. (1 Corinthians 15:9. saints. The riches of Christ’s work. What a treasure, then, have we in the advocateship of Christi The cause we have depending in the court above, involves our all to all eternity. If ever man had anything in himself on which he might build his hopes it was surely this Apostle. The latest ages will find these riches unimpaired in value and undiminished in supply. Jesus so loved the souls of men that we can only use the “so,” but we cannot find the word to match with it. 1. 1897. Who am less than the least of all saints; this the apostle speaks considering his former estate in Judaism, when he persecuted the church of Christ: so 1 Corinthians 15:9 1 Timothy 1:13,15. Unsearchable—The Greek word derived from track; so, untrackable, untraceable. Heaven alone, I suppose, will fully teach us how humble we ought to be. And had he lived, preached, and written to the present day, he had not exhausted the subject, nor fully declared to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ - the endless depths of wisdom and knowledge treasured up in him, and the infinity of saving acts and saving power displayed by him. The merit of His obedience and sacrifice, His service and His sufferings, as our substitute and surety, in His obedience on earth and His intercession in heaven. 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints. 1897-1910. The unsearchable riches of Christ - The word ανεξιχνιαστος, from α, privative, and εξιχνιαζω, to trace out, from ιχνος, a step, is exceedingly well chosen here: it refers to the footsteps of God, the plans he had formed, the dispensations which he had published, and the innumerable providences which he had combined, to prepare, mature, and bring to full effect and view his gracious designs in the salvation of a ruined world, by the incarnation, passion, death, and resurrection of his Son. Who can estimate these riches? And certainly, while Paul held the office of apostleship in common with others, it was an honor peculiar to himself to be appointed apostle of the Gentiles. Nor dimmed by age, nor worn by use, nor lessened by distribution, and throughout eternity, though more amply displayed, more extensively enjoyed, and more fully appreciated, they will remain as inscrutable and unsearchable as ever. The apostle feels the overwhelming pressure of this sublime mystery resting upon his being. II. The case is this: where show is a substitute for reality it is always excessive. Only a few words on the riches of his work, for the theme is so vast that we cannot enter upon it particularly. He was ever humbled by remembering that he had been a persecutor. BibliographyClarke, Adam. Duties come to us in many shapes and with many sanctions. How they open their golden cups, and each one whispers to the great sun, “Fill me with thy beams!” but when the sun is hidden behind a cloud, where are they? They are alike unknown to the speculations and philosophy and the investigations of science. The elevated themes of Ephesians make it highly praised and prized by commentators. That special branch of the apostolate which was entrusted to Paul had the following end in view-, ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν εὐαγγελίσασθαι—“to preach among the Gentiles.” Lachmann omits ἐν, following A, B, C, and so does Alford. To me, the least of all the saints, (i.e. Our property: how poor shall we be if we lose this cause! This passage is an humble, grateful, and exulting recognition of the sovereign, distinguishing grace of God, which had called, commissioned, and qualified him for the ministry of the gospel, for the defence of which he was now set, and on account of which he was then in bonds; and it presents a statement of the wondrous theme, the grand design, and the appropriate character of the Christian ministry. Suppose it be a granary of food indispensable to sustenance of a nation; the sacks could be counted, and brought out and told. II. "Commentary on Ephesians 3:8". Ephesians 1:3-8 Spiritual Blessings in Christ. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/ephesians-3.html. Paul felt this privilege very greatly. The practical question for us all today is--are we appropriating any of these riches of Christ? "Stanley Derickson - Notes on Selected Books". 1879-90. He began by seeing himself as the least of the Apostles, not fit to be an Apostle because he persecuted the church of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:9), but now he sees himself as the lowest of all the people of God. 3. Christ is the Great Physician that can heal the dying man (Mark 2:10-11). This attitude does not diminish our utility by God but, rather, it is vital to how God uses us. Adams, in his “Private Thoughts,” with that searchingness of spirit so peculiar to him, says, “O Lord, I want more humility. ), I am sure Paul was never guilty of mock modesty, and never pretended to be humbler than he really was. How transcendently foolish, on the other hand, must those be who will not have Christ when He is to be had for the asking! Christ bestows His riches freely; His joy is in communicating of His fulness. And our appropriation of these riches, though it be a matter of consciousness, shrouds itself from our scrutiny, for it indicates the presence of the Divine spirit in His power--a power exerted upon man, beyond resistance, but without compulsion; and in its mighty and gracious operation neither wounding his moral freedom nor impinging on his perfect and undeniable responsibility. 5. The grace of humility is not a merely ornamental grace, a something which it is desirable, but not absolutely necessary, to possess. It was never exhausted. Now Christ is the Water to the soul that is dying of thirst (John 4:10; John 7:37). Humility is one leading mark of all the most eminent saints of God in every age. See 1 Corinthians 15:8. xvii., p. 284; E. Aston, Ibid., vol. Now it was great grace to intrust the apostle with such a ministry, to put such treasure into an earthen vessel; it was great grace that qualified him for it; and it was great grace in particular to the Gentiles, that he should be appointed to publish these among them; and so the apostle esteemed it, and himself unworthy of such honour. Bibliography"Commentary on Ephesians 3:8". The prophets and apostles have laid great stress on this (Isaiah 53:12; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1). He is able to do it, and will. The dead soul feels and sees nothing; with life comes clear vision, a tender conscience, and spiritual sensibility. 3. When the Lord will make a man a chosen vessel, eminently serviceable in the Church, it is the method of His grace to humble that man in the dust, and to remove from him every ground of vain-glory. Unsearchable riches—that is, value not traced by inquiry and investigation. But now, brethren, look at this. Moreover, he saw more clearly his own corruption than that of others; and the true speech follows the true apprehension. III. A good indication that his modesty was neither sham nor morbid is that it did not hinder him from taking responsibility as an apostle” (Stott p. 119). "Commentary on Ephesians 3:8". 2. 2. And in order to appreciate the riches we do not know of, let us look at those we have actually in possession. The word “preach” implies this to do the office of a herald--to publish and proclaim glad tidings. True Christianity, when applied, always makes a better person. Christ is a skilful, able, kind, and faithful counsellor, and is infallible in every cause He undertakes! Ephesians 3:8-9. 6, § 11. "Commentary on Ephesians 3:8". Not the earthly life, so short. It raises the kings of the spirit rather than the body, and amongst these St. Paul. To lay himself as low as possible, consistently with his being in the number of Divinely commissioned men, he calls himself less than the least; and is obliged to make a new word, by strangely forming a comparative degree, not from the positive, which would have been a regular grammatical procedure, but from the superlative. This was Paul’s faith, and this faith was, in fact, the source of his invincible energy and his passionate enthusiasm. "[22] Paul's thought in this connection was that such unsearchable riches were to be provided for all mankind through his preaching. ; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. The thing is too good to have a price set upon it. The more light the Holy Ghost pours into their souls, the more do they discern their own infirmities, defilements, and darkness. II. When Mr. Morrison, the Missionary to China, needed an assistant, Mr. Milne, afterwards the celebrated Dr. Milne, offered himself. Ephesians 3:8-13 New International Version (NIV) 8 Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. Through His intervention God is just, and yet man may be saved. So humility is the fairest of Christian graces. 2. It was wholly incomprehensible. 1. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board). Jesus has riches of pardon for those who repent of their sins. 1. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. There is the glory which He has to bestow--which He does bestow. Finally, to whom is his ministry exercised? Because if they have them not, they cannot impart them. The story of His wondrous birth, His suffering life, His cruel death, His victorious resurrection, His glorious ascension--Bethlehem and Nazareth, Gethsemane and Calvary, Tabor and Olivet--with their thrilling associations, hallowed memories, and spiritual meaning, will never lose their power to charm while tongues can speak or hearts can feel. At one time, *Greek leaders had ruled Ephesus.Now the *Romans ruled the city. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/ephesians-3.html. “Unsearchable riches.” The veins of this mine are never worked out. Although viewing himself at such a low estate, Paul recognized that God’s grace that allowed him in ministry transcended his past. He further attempted, though failed to prove, that the whole of Scripture is to the Jews only and that the black people are the Jews. No guiltiness can possibly transcend the efficacy of His precious blood. IV. He labors to exhibit himself, and everything that belongs to him, in as humiliating a light as possible, in order that the grace of God may be the more highly exalted. 62, 237; E. Blencowe, Plain Sermons to a Country Congregation, p. 33; W. Ince, Church of England Pulpit, vol. Finding the new version too difficult to understand? BibliographyNicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. Not only was Paul less than the apostles, but he was less than even the saint without any office. Judaism was of Divine origin: but then it was exclusive; it was confined, and it was necessarily confined, to a particular nation. He was convinced, as we must be, that Christ never impoverishes those who put their trust in him. Here Jesus Himself, with all His unsearchable riches of grace and glory, is always present (Matthew 18:20). This is God's work and I don't want anyone to profit from it in a material way. Some forgotten aspects of the gospel have been recovered; the theological definitions which had for a generation or two been a sufficient expression of the results at which human speculation had arrived concerning the great facts of revelation have been challenged and discredited, and the mind of the Church has been brought into immediate contact with the facts themselves; the methods which had determined the construction of theological systems have become obsolete, and the work of reconstruction has tasked the genius and the learning of the leaders of Christian thought; the central principles of the gospel have received new applications to individual conduct and to the organization of social life; in all these ways a fresh and keen intellectual interest has been excited in Christian truth, and the intellectual interest has deepened moral and spiritual earnestness. To us all is this grace given. What St. Paul says of his ministerial office. He aims after this £30,000, and he gets it; but when he has it does he feel rich? There is such an appearance of simplicity and honesty in his writings, that they give us at once a full conviction that the humility which appears in his language, was to be found also in his heart and life. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/ephesians-3.html. Which cannot be tracked out. If men cannot keep their scientific discoveries to themselves, how much less should we keep to ourselves the divine disclosures? The riches of Christ are not simply “riches of grace”—“riches of glory”—“riches of inheritance,” as Pelagius, Grotius, and Koppe are inclined to restrict them, but that treasury of spiritual blessing which is Christ's-so vast that the comprehension of its limits and the exhaustion of its contents are alike impossible. Ephesians 3:11.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. A.). "Less than the least" can also refer to lower than the lowest. There is so much honesty and integrity in his writings as at once to impress us with the conviction that the humility which appears in his language was also to be found in his heart and life. 7. He calls the … Happy would it be for us if our hearts and our lips could become like Anacreon’s harp, which was wedded to one subject, and would learn no ether. It is given to be shared not monopolized. “Which cannot be tracked out” (Vincent p. 381). Intimately connected with this consideration is the recollection of God’s exceeding love towards us, in that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Every believing soul must be overpowered by the contemplation of such a mystery of Divine goodness; must be lost in wonder, love, and praise. 1. Ephesians 1:8 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓] Ephesians 1:8, NIV: "that he lavished on us.With all wisdom and understanding," Ephesians 1:8, ESV: "which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight" Ephesians 1:8, KJV: "Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;" Ephesians 1:8, NASB: "which He lavished on us.In all wisdom and insight" 20 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. What a treasure is it to us! BibliographyConstable, Thomas. Go to a man in an arid desert, lying on the ground gasping with thirst, at the gate of death, beneath a burning sun; take to him gold and jewels; offer them to him; promise him a kingdom; and what do you bestow on him? He may have imperfections, but those imperfections may have extenuations which may not attach to your deficiencies. By Him all things were made--by Him all things consist. He was sedulously endeavouring to deliver them from their sins, and to promote morality and virtue among them by every means in his power; and you may suppose with the same success that must always attend such vain efforts as these, to make the law do “what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh.” Whitewashing the sepulchre can never purify the corruption within. Believe me, my Lord can make you to lie down in green pastures, and lead you beside still waters. III. Still further-. When a man has his attention drawn to one of his neighbour’s notorious wickednesses, and forthwith begins to pray, “God, I thank Thee that I am not as other men--extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican” that is Pharisaism. Further, Christ has enriched the world by His conduct and teaching in relation to our sinfulness. This subject has been treated in the Exposition of the Epistle to the Galatians, (Galatians 1:15.) The apostle prolongs the thought, and dwells upon it. I have been commissioned to be a herald of glad tidings.” Of course we cannot doubt that St. Paul’s conception of the minister’s office included the administration of the sacraments, and the doing all other things needful for the edifying of the body of Christ. Of these, we notice, His incarnation. Comp. 3. In the hour of death, with one foot in the grave, with something of the light of heaven shining down upon them, hundreds of great saints and Church dignitaries--such men as Selden, Bishop Butler, Archbishop Longley--have left on record their confession, that never till that hour did they see their sins so clearly, and feel so deeply their debt to mercy and grace. But what is yet more, by His incarnation He became God and man in one person, was qualified to be a Mediator between God and man, etc. 1. (S. Martin, D. D.). The word ‘preach’ here is literally ‘evangelize,’ not ‘proclaim,’ as often. The thought of the commission instinctively wakens a sense of his own unworthiness. 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