"the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel," (Ephesians 3:5-6)Paul refers to the mystery of Christ. This Greek word for "mystery" is a derivation of another Greek word which means to "shut the mouth." It means to remain silent and to hide a fact or knowledge through silence. While in previous millenniums, God prophesied of a coming savior, there was an aspect of His coming and His ministry that was hidden, kept silent, and not revealed until His actual appearance upon this Earth. The Jews understood and looked forward to the Christ's coming, but the mystery of what His coming would mean to the world was hidden from them. They only understood Him to be their savior from the oppression and tyranny of their overlords; to be a political and national deliver from their captors and enslavers. To them, He was a natural savior for they failed to understand the spiritual aspect the ministry He was to perform when He did arrive to deliver them.
This mystery of Christ was that He was to come and free all men from oppression, slavery, and servitude; not from the oppression and slavery of men, but the oppression and slavery of sin and death. Jesus came to free us from what we ourselves could not, and this deliverance from sin and death was not only for the Jews, but for all of mankind. In times past, gods and religions were the possession of nations; each nation having its own gods and its own religion that regulated every part of their lives. Never before had there been a savior or a religion that crossed national boundaries and brought all of mankind together as one. Even the Romans, as they conquered nation after nation, left them to server their own national gods as long as they added the roman gods to their worship. Jesus came, not only for the Jews, but for all of mankind, to unite us all as one thought our common salvation in Christ.
In describing the gentile's participation in the salvation of Christ, Paul uses three Greek words that all begin with the same prefix which implies a union and common participation in the described action; they are co-heir, co-member, and co-partakers. As gentiles, we have been brought into familial relationship with God and have been made co-heirs with the Jews to the promises and blessings long foretold by God. All the blessings and promises that were the Jews through their descendancy from Abraham are now offered to all who find their new lineage through Abraham by faith. We are also co-members of one body with all who believe and have faith in Jesus and His Gospel. No one is to be excluded. All who believe are now invited into the union of one body in Christ. We are no longer separated from one another by nationality, ethnicity, gender, or any other dividing classification, we are all sons and daughters of God and members of His singular body. Finally, we are co-partakers of God's promise in Christ. Here Paul refers to the promise in the singular form. I believe that what Paul is referring to are not the multitude of promises and blessings that are our in Christ, but the promise of everlasting life with Christ. In Christ, eternity comes to light and we begin to understand that this life is but a precursor to the eternal life that awaits us in heaven. This eternal life is not the sole possession of the Jews, but is now freely offered to all who will believe. All who believe are equal partakers of this promise; this promise of eternal life. How blessed is this mystery which has now been revealed to us!