The Unsearchable Riches of Christ

“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.”
—Ephesians 3:8

RICHES HAVE BEEN sought after by fallen man in all generations. One reason for this is that every human being will be blessed in this way in God’s kingdom. In Eden, father Adam possessed material riches, mental and moral worth, power and influence in abundant measure; as the psalmist suggests, “Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet.”—Ps. 8:5,6

Earthly riches were lost through sin and through man’s alienation from his Creator. However, in the poverty of his fallen condition, mankind still has an innate desire to possess and enjoy as many of the good things of earth as he can possibly acquire. Considering this matter, we realize that nearly all human enterprise, whether it be in the realm of commerce, art, the professions, or whatever the calling in life, is with a view to securing material riches; or riches in the sense of social standing, honor, influence, power. At various times—especially during the nineteenth century—the news went abroad that gold had been discovered in certain places, and immediately a mad rush was made, untold hardships being willingly endured, in order that the first in the field might secure a lion’s share of the hidden treasure.

This innate human desire to possess and enjoy earth’s good things has been largely perverted and taken possession of by Satan. Man has been on earth for six thousand years and has been obediently following the Adversary’s law of selfishness. Hence, in his fallen condition, man is “not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”—Rom. 8:7

The great plan of salvation arranged by our Heavenly Father includes, through the coming thousand years of Messiah’s kingdom, a rescue of mankind out of this hopeless, helpless condition, back again to that which was lost, when the “stony” (selfish) heart of man will be taken away and he will once more be given a heart of “flesh.” (Ezek. 11:19) Before this time comes, however, a gracious opportunity has been given to some (the church) to be lifted out of their poverty and to become unspeakably rich. It is stated concerning Christ that “though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” (II Cor. 8:9) Hence our text speaks of the ‘unsearchable riches of Christ.’ This has been helpfully described as ‘riches beyond the discovery of human enterprise.’

Man will spend long years in hard toil and mental application in order to search out and secure riches. But the riches that the Christian enters into by faith are riches which cannot be searched out by his own efforts, human energy, or hard work, but come as a gift. Through justification, and consecration to God, we have been inducted into the body of Christ, and Paul says that in Christ are “hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”—Col. 2:3


These ‘treasures of wisdom and knowledge’ show us that through Christ we may become heirs of a grand and eternal inheritance—“heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” (Rom. 8:17) Nevertheless, we are also shown that the future riches of heavenly glory depend upon our proving faithful stewards of what the Lord has entrusted to us during the present life. As the Master said, “If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?” (Luke 16:11) The ‘true riches’ now imparted to the faithful include a knowledge of the Truth—the treasures of wisdom and knowledge—or, as Paul elsewhere expresses it, “the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God.”—Rom. 11:33

The eternal riches in heaven are also ‘unsearchable,’ in that they cannot be secured by human enterprise, but by a faithful conformity to the will of God, allowing him to work in us to will and to do of his good pleasure. “The gift of God is eternal life.” (Rom 6:23) So also the heavenly inheritance—although from one standpoint a reward of faithfulness—is the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. As the poet says, “Thou hast called us to a station we could ne’er by merit win.”

Seeing that the Father and our Redeemer have arranged to bestow upon the called ones of this Gospel Age such boundless riches of his grace, what manner of persons ought we to be, “in all holy conversation and godliness?” (II Pet. 3:11) As Paul exhorted the church, so let us pray for one another, that we may walk worthy of the calling wherewith we are called (Eph 4:1); seeking to become “rich in faith” (James 2:5); rich in grace; rich in wisdom and the knowledge of God; and to abound in love through the power of the Holy Spirit; setting our affections on the things which are above, for where our treasure is, there will our hearts be also.—Col. 3:1-3; Matt. 6:21; Rev. 3:18

Dawn Bible Students Association
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