by Mike Ratliff
7 οὗ ἐγενήθην διάκονος κατὰ τὴν δωρεὰν τῆς χάριτος τοῦ θεοῦ τῆς δοθείσης μοι κατὰ τὴν ἐνέργειαν τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ. 8 Ἐμοὶ τῷ ἐλαχιστοτέρῳ πάντων ἁγίων ἐδόθη ἡ χάρις αὕτη, τοῖς ἔθνεσιν εὐαγγελίσασθαι τὸ ἀνεξιχνίαστον πλοῦτος τοῦ Χριστοῦ 9 καὶ φωτίσαι [πάντας] τίς ἡ οἰκονομία τοῦ μυστηρίου τοῦ ἀποκεκρυμμένου ἀπὸ τῶν αἰώνων ἐν τῷ θεῷ τῷ τὰ πάντα κτίσαντι, 10 ἵνα γνωρισθῇ νῦν ταῖς ἀρχαῖς καὶ ταῖς ἐξουσίαις ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις διὰ τῆς ἐκκλησίας ἡ πολυποίκιλος σοφία τοῦ θεοῦ, 11 κατὰ πρόθεσιν τῶν αἰώνων ἣν ἐποίησεν ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ τῷ κυρίῳ ἡμῶν, 12 ἐν ᾧ ἔχομεν τὴν παρρησίαν καὶ προσαγωγὴν ἐν πεποιθήσει διὰ τῆς πίστεως αὐτοῦ. 13 διὸ αἰτοῦμαι μὴ ἐγκακεῖν ἐν ταῖς θλίψεσίν μου ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν, ἥτις ἐστὶν δόξα ὑμῶν. (Ephesians 3:7-13 NA28)
7 Of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God having been given to me according to the working of his power. 8 To me, the least of all the saints, this grace was given to the gentiles to preach the unsearchable wealth of Christ 9 and to enlighten all men as to what is the stewardship of the mystery hidden from the ages in God, the one who created all things 10 that it might be made known now to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenlies through the Church the many faceted wisdom of God 11 according to the plan of the ages, which he made in Christ Jesus our Lord 12 in whom we have boldness and access in confidence through faith in him. 13 Therefore, I ask you not to despair concerning my afflictions for you, which is for your glory. (Ephesians 3:7-13 translated from the NA28 Greek text)
If we are honest, we must all agree that that there is a growing disrespect of God in today’s various teaching on prayer let alone worship. While boldness does mean that those who are truly in Christ need not have any inhibitions as they come before God, they must still never forget that God is God. To treat God as if he is a “buddy,” to bring him down to our level in any way, is truly blasphemous. It is insolence in action to do any other than respect and worship God as he deserves. He is not our “buddy” or “pal,” but our heavenly Father and our God. What does it mean to come before him in boldness while not being insolent?
In the passage I placed at the top of this post, the word “boldness” in v12 translates the noun παρρησίαν or parrēsian, “boldness, confidence, openness.” Παρρησίαν is the accusative, singular of παρρησία or parrēsia. The structure of this noun tells us that we can come before our Father with total freedom of speech, pour out our hearts, and tell him everything. This is indeed a blessed privilege. We are able to do this because of the finished work of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:14-16; 10:19). Now, because of the blood of Christ, we can come directly to God and speak openly to him at any time.
What would be an example of insolence in prayer? I heard a T.V. preacher one time actually demand that God answer some outlandish prayer about fulfilling some of his so-called prophecies he had made. I always think of him when I study this. Other examples are the “Name it/Claim It” , “Word of Faith” people who little more side-show carnival showmen trying to get people’s money by promising much for their “power in prayer.” Also, think of the Roman Catholic Pope who claims to be speaking directly for God on the earth. He claims to be sole interpreter of God’s truth and where Roman Catholic doctrine differs from what Sacred Scripture says, the Pope’s dictates rule. This is one of the reasons for the Protestant Reformation in the 16th Century.
Look at what is going on right now with the current Pope seeking to bring together the Pentecostals, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Muslims, and Jews saying they are all “brothers” in faith. Notice he is not seeking to do this with any doctrinally sound Christians such as Reformed Baptists, Presbyterians, et cetera. He has attempted to make inroads with some Lutherans, but any who really know their Lord will not be fooled. There are some in the Anglican Church seeking reunification with Roman Church as well. All of this looks good to the natural man to be sure, and it makes those of us who know better look like “haters.” However, these moves may be attempts to seek and demand God’s sanction in a bold sort of way, but are in fact insolence. It is calling that which is not of Christ at all, Christian while calling those who oppose the unification evil or wicked, but in fact, we are seeking only the will of God.
I would hate to be these insolent, arrogant people when it comes time for the judgment.
Let us come before God open, candidly, and without fear but also in reverence, respect, and worship.
Soli Deo Gloria!