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)
Those truly in Christ have indeed been given the incredible privilege of unimpeded access to the Throne of Grace (Hebrews 4:16), and that means they can come “boldly” to their Heavenly Father in Christ-confidence, not self-confidence. From this passage we also see the “access” all in Christ have as a granted privilege. This access to come boldly to God in prayer has been granted only to those in Christ, no one else. Even so, this privilege is not to be taken for granted by Christians being impetuous or impulsive, that is, doing things hurriedly, or rushing about. I often despair of my lack of time in prayer each day as I take small parts here and there and pray hurriedly through them. What good is that? When we do that, our prayers become habitual and rushed and nothing more than a form of idolatry.
In Ephesians 3:12 (above) the word “access” translates the Greek noun προσαγωγὴν (prosagōgēn), “access,” the accusative, singular of προσαγωγή (prosagōgē). This word was used in ancient Greek culture to describe a person who gave someone else admittance to see the king. The person who wanted to see the king had no right to do so, therefore, someone else had to give him admittance, had to make the introduction. Even Christians have no inherent right in and of themselves to come before God, but they have been granted the privilege of doing so because they are in Christ.
To take this a step deeper; in the Greek text, παρρησίαν (boldness) has the definite article τὴν (tēn) before it. This means that v12 literally says, “In whom we have the boldness and the access…” What does that really mean? It narrows down who Paul is referring to. This is only for genuine Christians. Only those who come through Christ can have access to God (John 14:6).
As I contemplate my own poor prayer “habits” throughout the day, I pray that you do as well. We must not take this privilege of access to come boldly to the Throne of Grace for granted. Let us cease for doing so. May we see that we have no right to come before God, but, instead, have been granted a marvelous privilege by the introduction of our Saviour. Let us not rush into his presence, hurriedly making our desires known then taking off as if he does not matter. Instead, let us be in deliberate communion with him throughout the day in humble submission to his will.
Soli Deo Gloria!