“That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel.” Ephesians 3:6
Throughout the history of the world there has been the “haves” and the “have nots,” the “greater thans” and the “lesser thans.” To be brutally honest, I have seen myself as one of the “have nots” or “lesser thans.” In large part I believe this is due to the effects of shame in my life. Much of my shame comes from believing lies about myself. Lies that say, “I am bad,” “I am worthless,” “No one would love me as I am,” or “I cannot depend on others to help me.” These lies were attached to wounds I acquired in my past, and they promote isolation and defeat.
But God wants to set us free from these lies so we may live the kind of life He created us to live. One of the ways God sets us free is by placing us in His family, the Church, where we can learn a new way of seeing ourselves and living as God intended us to live.
In the book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul talks about being “in Christ,” which has to do with how God sees us. We have learned that in Christ we are chosen (1:4), adopted (1:5), accepted (1:6), redeemed and forgiven (1:7), and many other wonderful truths depicting how God sees us.
Today we are going to learn that we are equals in the family of God. The apostle Paul was called by God to minister “the mystery of Christ” to Gentiles (Ephes. 3:1-4). The word “mystery” (mystḗrion) refers to a previously hidden truth that is now “revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets” (3:5). This mystery is explained in verse 6:
“That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel” (3:6).
There are three aspects to this mystery:
1. Gentile and Jewish believers are EQUAL HEIRS (“fellow heirs”) of the “unsearchable riches of Christ” (3:6a, 8). All the spiritual blessings that Paul has written about up to this point in Ephesians belong to both Jewish and Gentile believers. Our inheritance is the same. Therefore we do not need to think we are lesser than others.
2. Gentile and Jewish believers are EQUAL MEMBERS in “the same body” of Christ, the Church (3:6b). From the very beginning of the church age, the Church has consisted of all people who believe in Christ alone to save them from hell forever. One believer is not more loved or valued than another believer. We are all loved and valued the same. Therefore, there is no need to work hard to improve our status in the Church.
3. Gentile and Jewish believers are EQUAL PARTAKERS of the “promise in Christ through the gospel” (3:6c). The gospel message was not limited to Jews, but is also for all people to believe (“whoever” in John 3:16 includes everyone). Hence, we do not need to isolate or withdraw from others in the Church because we were all saved by grace through faith (Ephes. 2:8-9).
In each of the three Greek words that Paul uses to describe our equality in the church, they all begin with the same prefix “sun” – a preposition that means “with.”
– “fellow heirs” = sun + kleronomos.
– “same body” = sun + soma
– “partakers” = sun + metochos
“Sun” however differs from “meta,” the other Greek preposition meaning “with,” in that “sun” describes a more intimate relationship.
Let me give you an illustration that distinguishes these two words… making biscuits. Take all the ingredients and put them out on a cookie sheet. Measure out the flour, the shortening, the baking powder, etc. Put each ingredient on the sheet. All of those ingredients can still be separated, but at the same time they are with each other— that is a picture of the meaning of the word “meta.”
Now take all of the ingredients and mix them together. Cut the dough and put it in a pan and bake it. After it has baked, it comes out as a biscuit. Once the ingredients are baked together, the biscuit serves as a perfect picture of the meaning of the preposition “sun.” No scientist can separate the ingredients of that biscuit because they are united together in intimate union! That’s the idea of the preposition “sun.”
All Christians are joined together in unity by our common spiritual DNA – the indwelling Holy Spirit. Every believer shares a position of equality in the body of Christ because of God’s grace, not because of their heritage or achievements. In God’s eyes we all are equal in our inheritance, our membership, and in our partaking of the promise of Christ through the gospel.
Prayer: Thank You Father God for showing me my true value in the body of Christ, the Church. I am an equal in Your family because of Your grace. Please apply this truth to my soul so I can see myself as an equal among the members of Your family and preserve the unity that Christ established through the cross. In Jesus’ name. Amen.