As I shared this last Sunday, I’ve been rather overwhelmed with the phrase found in Ephesians 3:8, the “unsearchable riches in Christ.” It has literally taken me a few days to get my head around what all that phrase entails. Paul begins this verse by expressing his profound gratitude for God’s choice of him by verbalizing how unworthy he is of such grace. He calls himself “less than the least of all the saints,” yet he received from the Lord the divine calling to “preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:8).
You and I, like Paul, have different mission fields. For Paul, it was the Gentiles. For us, it may be our families, work associates, neighbors, those in our extended sphere of influence, or anyone the Lord places in our path to shine His light in their darkness (Matt. 5:14, Eph. 5:8). But the message we preach is the same as Paul’s. And that message is simply this; we preach the “unsearchable riches of Christ.”
Our verse to help focus our prayer time today reads as follows:
To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ – Ephesians 3:8.
The word Paul uses, “unsearchable” (anexichníastos), means “untraceable or impossible to trace,” like looking for fading footprints in the snow. Elsewhere it’s translated as “unfathomable, incomprehensible, endless, boundless, incalculable, inexplorable, inexhaustible, and without limit.” It conveys the idea of something never-ending and beyond human measure.
What are Unsearchable Riches?
Paul also expresses the wonder of the riches we have in Christ in his closing doxology at the end of this chapter. He says in Ephesians 3:20-21:
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
It appears there are some things the Lord has prepared for us that are simply beyond comprehension. And our appreciation for what we already possess in Christ should be viewed the same way: as the incomprehensible, unsearchable, boundless, blessings lavished on those “less than the least of the saints.”
The “unsearchable riches of Christ” are not simply the gifts or benefits that come from our position in Him, but Christ Himself. It is the manifestation of the Son of God. It is God reconciling Himself to us in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ, who “made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Phil 2:7-8).
Often we have a tendency, at least I do, of focusing more on the benefits of knowing Christ than the privilege of actually being able to know Him. We praise Him for things like eternal life, the peace that passes all understanding, for grace and mercy, protection and redemption, and look more to the gift rather than its’ Giver. But these are all benefits that extend from the Source of those gifts, which is Christ. He is more than the sum of His gifts; He is our “unsearchable riches.”
Nevertheless, we want to make sure we do thank Him for the riches of His gifts, namely. “the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering” (Rom. 2:4), the “riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God” (11:33), His rich mercy and great love (Eph. 2:4), the “riches of His glory” (3:16), that He “gives us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17), the “riches of the full assurance of understanding” (Col. 2:2), and Him declaring us “complete in Him” (Col. 2:10).
And all this comes in one perfect person. Jesus.
Time to Pray
It is for this reason, on Tuesday nights, we will be focusing on nothing but Christ alone. We’re going to be embarking on a study of the life of Jesus encompassing chronologically all four Gospel accounts into one. Our desire is to experience Him like never before. When you begin to understand the magnitude of our “unsearchable riches in Christ,” it swells in you a hunger to want more of the Giver, and less of the gift.
As you pray today, spend some time thinking about the Lord Jesus and how rich you are in Him. Ask the Father to give you the desire and unction to know more about His Son. Seek the will to make time for Jesus, and just Jesus, in your busy life. And finally, thank Him for His grace and mercy and His willingness to give you the “unsearchable riches” found only in Christ.
And commit today to make plans to join us on Tuesday evenings as we learn more about our Lord Jesus from the four Gospel accounts.