(Ephesians 6:19) “And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,”
Paul was in prison for preaching the gospel of the grace of God as he wrote these words to the Ephesians. This was part of the prayer request he began in verse 18. Paul’s persecution, rooted in the principalities and powers aligned under Satan, came mainly from two groups. First, he was under attack by pagan Gentiles who were going to lose their income or power that came from those who were lost.. We see an example of this in Acts 16 and 19. Second, he was continually attacked by religious Jews who were fervent against Christ. They followed Paul in his travels looking for any opportunity to shut him down. We see numerous examples in Acts 14, 17 and 18.
The “mystery of the gospel” is defined for us in Ephesians 3:6 – “That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:” The thought that both Jew and Gentile would be reconciled to God in one Body was a direct threat against “spiritual wickedness in high places” that sought to keep both of these groups in continual spiritual darkness. No wonder Paul was constantly attacked! The gospel threatened to tear down worldly powers and strongholds, set people free from captivity and provide victory in daily life over sin. The gospel was and is powerful enough to shift the entire structure of society.
It’s important to notice that Paul did not pray for his own safety or comfort. Rather his mind was entirely on the gospel and those who needed it. He was asking for his mental state to be as effective as possible under the extreme stress of imprisonment and threat of death. Because Paul focused on the mission God gave him, his focus was on the need for courage in the face of all the danger around him. Another thing comes to mind as we look at this verse – even though Paul is praying for his own benefit, ultimately his prayer was a result of keeping his mind on the needs of others. This is an advancement of the prayer request in verse 18. As we see society crumble around us, we need to be aware what those in society truly need. They need a Church that will stand for the truth of the “mystery of the gospel” – a Church fully aware of what transformation is needed and committed to the message that can accomplish it regardless of the cost.
Renewed Thought – The Mystery of the Gospel shows us the power of God in the gospel to transform an entire culture. It also helps us see our own need to depend on the Lord for courage to stand for the gospel in the face of spiritual conflict.