Paul’s Ministry to the Gentiles
Open Your Bible
Ephesians 3:1-13, Romans 11:1-36, Colossians 1:24-29
I’m almost forty, but I sometimes still wonder if the other girls really like me. Our community is small and wonderful and welcoming; I’ve been here all my adult life. But I wonder… Are the other ladies having parties without me? Are they chatting with me because they enjoy my company or because they are very kind? Is everyone else in a club that I know nothing about? Is there something about me they don’t like? Should I not have let my hair go grey? Do they think I’m not doing a good job parenting my children? Is it my jokes?
No matter how loving and beloved we are, there are still little things that can make us doubt that we belong. And belonging is so important to us. I ache to feel cherished by my friends and family. And while it is possible my jokes are keeping some ladies at arm’s length, there is no doubt at all about my belonging in the family of God.
“In him we have boldness and confident access through faith in him” (Ephesians 3:12). It’s a done deal with Christ. We aren’t just acquaintances; we are part and parcel of His family tree. “You, though a wild olive branch, were grafted in among them and have come to share in the rich root” (Romans 11:17). Yes! We are blessed to share in the rich root of God’s blessing. What a relief to be invited into confident access.
And we don’t earn this boldness through our hard work at pleasing Him or trying to make our girlfriends laugh. “For [we] are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9). Our belonging is God’s gift to us, and we are now servants of the gospel of grace that unites (Ephesians 3:7). There are no earthly relationships that come close to that totally one-sided deal. His love is a free gift to us, and in exchange, we have the favor and lovingkindness of a King.
I like to imagine that the early Church was full of ladies just like us, hoping to belong, hoping to fit in, wondering if it was too soon to make jokes about the Pompeii earthquake. The beautiful truth is the Church is made up of all kinds of folks. But “God wanted to make known among the Gentiles the glorious wealth of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). The hope of Christ is our eternal belonging in His glory and presence.