Unveiling the Mystery

Posted: May 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

According to the dictionary, a mystery is something that is not fully understood, or that baffles or eludes our understanding. In his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul says that the mystery was made known to him by revelation (Eph. 3:3). The word “revelation” means a disclosure, an unveiling.In Paul’s case, God has revealed to him a mystery, something that was previously not understood.

So what is the mystery? I have heard some claim that it is the Gospel itself. That what God was doing to save a lost world was a mystery previously not understood. But let me say that personal predisposition, or even prejudice, is no excuse for poor exegesis of the scripture. In other words, it is not ok to impose our point of view on the Bible.

Paul tells us exactly what the mystery is in Ephesians 3:6, where he writes, “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.” This is an incredible mystery revealed to Paul. The power of the Gospel is such that it can make people of any ethnic group to be one.

In Paul’s day that meant bringing unity between Jews and Gentiles. In the mind of a Jew of his day, there were two groups, Jews, and everybody else (Gentiles). In the revelation of this mystery God makes one both Jews and Gentiles. And he does this not by making the Gentiles into Jews, or the Jews into Gentiles, but by transforming both into something new, Christians.

This is true in any and every day. In the deep south where I live, there has been strong prejudice between black and white dating back to the roots of our history. But the amazing power of the Gospel is that it can bring African Americans, Caucasian Americans, and any and every other ethnic group into one body of people. Again, it doesn’t do this by transforming one into the other, but by transforming both into Christians.

Unity among people of differing ethnic origin does not begin by seeking reconciliation between the peoples, but by proclaiming a message that brings reconciliation between any person and God. When that person is reconciled to God, the love of Christ compels them to love all people. That is the mystery that is revealed to Paul, and through the Word of God, to us.

  1. Rachel Flemming says:

    But is the mystery revealed to every Christian? The word of God commands Christians “to love God with all your heart and soul ”and ” love thy neighbor” these are commands that Christians need to indwell in their hearts and act upon. Jesus says, how can we say we love God who we have not seen and not love our fellow man (paraphrased). “The commandment that we have from Him is those who love God must love his brother also.” In my perspective, being prejudice prevents Christians from honoring and glorifying God, and can be viewed as disobedience to His commands.
    Disobedience is a sin. Perhaps, that is why many Christians do not understand the mystery of the kingdom God or why God has not revealed it to them. How can a Christian know God? How does knowing God help Christians not to be prejudiced? Can these mysteries be easily answered and solved?
    The truth of God’s word is concealed to those who are prejudiced or stubborn to hear what is taught. According to God’s word, the truth is revealed to those who will hear it and act on it.
    “And he said unto them, unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto those who are outside all things come in parables so that seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.
    I pray that the Holy Spirit will open the hearts and minds of Christians to receive the truth and act on it. For the mystery to be known, Christians must follow the commands of God, forget about their worldly cares, and the pursuit of material things.

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