Saturday, April 09, 2011

The Mystery

The Mystery
Eph.1:9, 10 - Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: Eph.3:2-11 - If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 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; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: 0To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
The entire plan is a mystery. In fact, God Himself is a great mystery. We cannot even understand the nature of a “spirit” and yet God is a spirit. We so matter-of-factly say that God created everything out of nothing with just a Word, and yet that in and of itself is a colossal mystery. The nature of sin and the nature of holiness and the nature of man are all great mysteries which we have reduced to doctrinal check boxes. We have taken the sacred mysteries and made them into a safe set of spiritual tenants that stand without the soul shaking effects that such truths should, or must, have.
Of course they have been shared to us by revelation of the Holy Spirit and on a level that we can understand, but that should not negate their monumental and eternal truths. This Christianity, this faith that we claim to embrace, is much more than systematic theologies and moral philosophies. This faith centers around the Person of Jesus the Christ Who is the ultimate mystery.
I Tim.3:16 - And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
If God Himself is a great mystery, then of what sort of mystery is the Incarnation where God comes as a man? And if you will bow to that mystery, then of what mystery is the Incarnate One’s mission? Why has He come? And surrounded and even overwhelmed by all these mysteries, and if you can surrender to their incomprehensible magnitude, then let us walk into the greatest mystery of them all which has sprung out of all the rest. The cross.
Intricately woven together and precisely placed within a chronology, these mysteries brought forth the greatest expression of the mystery that we call God. Lifted high upon a wooden death instrument, God Himself suffers while impaled upon that which He Himself had made. Just that sentence alone confounds the angels and sends all religions and philosophies running to find safety. The cross unveils a mystery that is dangerous and unbending, bloody and loving, vicious and graceful, repulsive and beautiful, and pulsating with eternal majesty inside the basest of all human deeds. The word “mystery” find its complete etymology in this cross. The source of all spiritual power lives and breathes in this cross, and the cross provides the classroom for studying the continuing mystery of God.
Most humans do not even feel a need for redemption, and most religions provide that redemption through systems of higher knowledge and levels of consciousness. But here is Jesus, the Author and Finisher of this faith, and the One who has existed eternally without having a beginning. Here He is, shamed as a man and abused by His own, and pierced with all sorts of wounds. All this while claiming to be all powerful and the creator of all. He does not exact from His followers a higher level of consciousness or some spiritual cast system where men can rise upon the basis of their own endeavors and labors. Here is Jesus, the God of all mysteries, dying upon a cross and at the hands of wicked men.
Even the angels cannot fathom what is happening. This cross is not for them. How can we understand the Creator of all life succumbing to death at the hands of those to whom He gave life? Only the Spirit of God can open a sinner’s heart and deposit the knowledge of Who this is and the personal nature of this sacrifice. And when this enlightened sinner touches the knowledge of the Holy One and the completeness of His sacrificial death, then he must deal with his own fallen flesh which provides ample excuses for refusing God’s offer.
You see, we desire a mystery which appeals to the senses and could make a wonderful visual effects movie. We desire a mystery which allows us to be something and elevates mankind. We desire a mystery that lifts our emotions and provides us a hope that is grounded in ourselves. We do not desire a mystery which sees the God of our hope in shame and torture and in a seemingly stunning defeat. That is a tough mystery to market to a self serving audience.
But again, that is just another facet of this great mystery. The cross does not come to us in order to stroke our need for self affirmation. It does not provide a place where we can feel better about ourselves. It doesn’t even provide a place of aesthetic visuals that lift our spirits. In the natural, this mystery is depressing and vulgar. But in the Spirit this cross is the zenith of mysteries that carries with it the entire provision for eternal redemption. Countless mysteries are inherent in this one event. The mystery of the Incarnation; the mystery of God’s love; the mystery of sin; the mystery of the blood; the mystery of His sufferings; the mystery of the Trinity; the mystery of redemption; the mystery of forgiveness; and the mystery of divine death. No one can completely understand this mystery. No one needs to fully comprehend this mystery. The only requirement is to believe in this mystery and you have become a part of it.

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