For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. — 1 Corinthians 4:9In the above, Paul chose to use an interesting word in his letter to his fellow believers in Corinth. In most versions, the word is translated as “spectacle.” The Greek word that Paul chose was theatron. It is found only one other time in the New Testament (Acts 19:29&31), where it is translated as “theater,” a place for dramatic performances.
How appropriate! You and I are a theater of God’s grace before men and angels, fallen and unfallen. Our lives are bound up in the greatest drama that the universe has ever witnessed. For it is the story of the slander and vindication of the Character of our God before the on-looking eyes of all.
But we are not play-actors, my friends. This is real life! Not only is God holding us up as a display of His grace and love, which is poured “on” sinners (Ephesians 2:7), but he is holding us up as a theater where His grace and love are poured out “through” sinners to others, as well (Ephesians 3:10). What a testimony to the power of love, the power by which God is endeavoring to govern the universe.
“The church, being endowed with the righteousness of Christ, is His depository [a person with whom something is left in trust], in which the wealth of His mercy, His love, His grace, is to appear in full and final display” (CET 209).
“The church is God’s appointed agency for the salvation of men. It was organized for service, and its mission is to carry the gospel to the world. From the beginning it has been God’s plan that through His church shall be reflected to the world His fullness and His sufficiency. The members of the church, those whom He has called out of darkness into His marvelous light, are to show forth His glory. The church is the repository of the riches of the grace of Christ; and through the church will eventually be made manifest, even to “the principalities and powers in heavenly places,” the final and full display of the love of God” Ephesians 3:10 (Acts of the Apostles, p. 9).
This was this same method that God used with Christ. “Having undertaken our redemption, He will spare nothing, however dear, which is necessary to the completion of His work. No truth essential to our salvation is withheld, no miracle of mercy is neglected, no divine agency is left unemployed. Favor is heaped upon favor, gift upon gift. The whole treasury of heaven is open to those He seeks to save. Having collected the riches of the universe, and laid open the resources of infinite power, He gives them all into the hands of Christ, and says, All these are for man. Use these gifts to convince him that there is no love greater than Mine in earth or heaven” (Desire of Ages, p. 57).
To this same dispensing of God’s unfathomable grace, we too are called.
“So that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 3:10).
May the work that Jesus began be finished in our lifetimes. May the church in these final moments cry out to this world and the unfallen universe above, “Behold your God” (Isaiah 40:9).
Have a blessed week!