The Mystery of His Will
A Sermon on Ephesians 1:8-9
8which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight 9He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He set forth in Him,
8Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
Can anyone discover the mysteries of God? Does God hide His will from humanity? As the apostle Paul expands his teaching on God’s grace, he moves from election and predestination to “mystery." In this sermon on Ephesians 1:8–9 titled “The Mystery of His Will,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones warns that this mystery is no incomprehensible mystery as taught in the ancient religions, reserved only for a select few. Nor is it a vague teaching, antithetical to propositional truth as many contemporary Christian movements want to make it. Instead, biblical mystery is something hidden from natural humanity, yet God has fully revealed it. It is an open secret that sinful humanity cannot see. It is a truth that God must reveal to individuals. This has great implications for evangelism. The gospel is comprehensible to anyone, no matter their intellect, as long as God reveals it to them. Dr. Lloyd-Jones insists that this is the work of the Holy Spirit who opens the eyes of men and women to the revelation of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures. Faith is not opposed to reason, but reason alone cannot bring someone to God. The mind of a person, at its best, is inadequate; God must bring them to this truth. All desperately need His grace.
- The sermon is focused on Ephesians 1:8-9. The apostle Paul is describing the riches of God's grace.
- Verse 8 should be translated as "which he has caused to abound toward us" rather than "wherein he hath abounded toward us." This focuses on God's grace rather than God himself.
- The phrase "in all wisdom and prudence" in verse 8 should be connected to grace, not God. It describes how grace has abounded toward us.
- There are three possible interpretations of "in all wisdom and prudence":
- God exercised wisdom and prudence in causing grace to abound
- God made the mystery of his will known through wisdom and prudence
- God's grace abounded toward us in wisdom and prudence (the preferred interpretation)
- "Mystery" does not mean something incomprehensible or only revealed to a select few. It means something undiscoverable to the natural mind but revealed by God.
- The scriptures alone are the authority on spiritual truth, not human wisdom or progress. The work of the Holy Spirit is essential to understanding them.
- God's grace and revelation are available to all, regardless of intellect or status. No one can reach the truth through human ability alone.
- We should glory in nothing and no one but God, who devised this way of salvation.
The Book of Ephesians
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.