Monday, July 13, 2020

The Mystery of God

"And He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ" (Ephesians 1:9)

Paul continues with his long sentence, after he has told us to praise God for His electing grace, by saying that this grace was freely given to us by God through Jesus Christ. It is through Jesus Christ, he says, that we have redemption. The idea of redemption is this: We were sold, so to speak, into slavery because of our sin. Jesus has saved, redeemed us from that slavery by breaking the hold of sin. He has destroyed the "pharaoh" of sin, and thus released us from bondage. This is our redemption.

Redemption, however, is not an end in itself. God’s purpose is not just to save us from sin, but to fit us as His army to rule His world according to His Word. To that end, says Paul, He has lavished on us all kinds of riches, and these riches consist mainly of wisdom and understanding (Ephesians 1:8). By giving us wisdom and insight, God fits us to conquer in His name and rule for His glory.

A Christian has had the violence and cruelty taken out of his or her heart, at least to a great degree, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Thus, Christians are in the best position to rule with charity and kindness, as well as fairness and justice. Also, Christians respect the Word of God, which gives wisdom and insight for ruling. God wants His people to rule His world.

Paul says that this knowledge and understanding consists of God’s revealing to us the “mystery.” In systematic theology, a mystery is something God understands but we don’t. We really don’t understand how God can be three in person and one in essence at the same time, but God certainly understands this. In the Bible, however, the term mystery is used differently. It refers to information God concealed during the old covenant period, but which is now revealed to the church.

Now that Christ has finished His work, the mystery is revealed. In other words, the Bible is now completed, and we now have access to all that God intends to say. We have access to His top secret documents, so that we understand His plan and the secrets of how the world really works. With this knowledge we can serve Him by extending His kingdom through proclamation, charity, and prevailing prayer.

Curiosity is natural in humans. God’s grace is evident in His willingness to reveal so much of His plan and His nature to His children. Thank Him today for that grace and purpose to be satisfied with what He has revealed, rather than frustrated by mysteries which remain.