The Great Plot Twist

that no one saw coming.

Ephesians 2:11–13 (NKJV)

Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

This isn’t just about how far from God the Ephesians, as unbelievers, were. This is about how far away they were, as gentiles. It’s about God surprising everyone by expanding His covenant beyond Israel. That’s the plot twist nobody saw coming.

Sure, He had said to Abraham, “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 22:18a, NKJV), but no one thought they’d be that blessed.

Time after time, the history of the covenant had been God winnowing His people down to a remnant. His relentless preference for quality over quantity was His hallmark.

Then, suddenly, the covenant goes viral. Everyone’s eligible. Change of plans.

Or maybe not. Actually, that was the plan all along. The whole Old Testament was pointing to this; it just wasn’t as a gradual progression towards the new order. The stage was being set for a shift of gears, but people who were just looking at the stage couldn’t see it.

That’s not so unusual. Many phenomena follow this pattern. For example, market bubbles typically look obvious in retrospect but still catch almost everyone by surprise when they happen.

This plot twist exists for, what else, God’s glory. But what’s He up to? How does this glorify Him? We understand how salvation by grace alone glorifies God, but how does this shift from “remnant, remnant, remnant” to “everyone’s invited” fit in? What’s so glorifying about that?

It highlights the contrast between Israel’s failure and Christ’s triumph. The Israelites could barely keep the flame alive. In Christ, it became a wildfire.

To His glory.

One of the great challenges for a Christian is to learn to love life’s little “plot twists.” We think we know where things are going and then everything changes. Nine times out of ten, it’s not good news either.

Curious thing is, we don’t like plot twists even when they are good news. We just don’t like disruptions.

This is sin at a fundamental level. We want to control things. The plot twists are God’s doing, and we don’t want to cede control to Him. But He has control, whether we like it or not.

When plans change, look for, and appreciate, God’s hand in things. You can feel His presence.

The weekly study guides, which include all five devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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