Yesterday we were introduced to the Greek word “mystery” mustḗrion and how its use in the New Testament is different than what it means in contemporary English. For us today, mystery means something not known or unknowable. But in the Greek, where it is used in these passages, it means something that is known or knowable but not to everyone. It is knowledge or truth that is known only to those who it was meant to be revealed. Not to everyone, but to the elect.
But there is more we can learn about this mystery.
When Paul speaks of both Jews and Gentiles being created into one new people, the church, he is revealing something given to him “by revelation” (Eph. 3:3) that will allow us to understand his “knowledge in the mystery of Christ” (Eph. 3:4). And this revealed knowledge has been, in other ages, hidden from “the sons of men” but is now “revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets” (Eph. 3:5) and, as such, it is now being communicated to us.
What is this incredible mystery? You got it. That “the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel” (Eph. 3:6).
Let’s look at the first promise: fellow heirs. Being a “fellow heir” means the Gentiles are now heirs with Israel and equal beneficiaries of all of God’s blessings a person receives, and will receive, in salvation. There is no longer any distinction in the eyes of God. Both groups, Jews and Gentiles, are now melded into one body by the new birth and “fellow heirs” of all that God has for His children. Can you imagine what that must be?
And again, since most of us are Gentiles, this mystery is the key to unlock our “acceptance in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6). And now, since it has been revealed to us, it should bring us to our knees in praise to our Father who planned our reconciliation from the beginning.
One more point before we go to the Lord in prayer. In the Old Testament, there were many clues to this mystery. We see one in God’s promise given to Abraham in Genesis 12:3 where God says, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” The phrase “all the families of the earth” would naturally include both Jews and Gentiles. But for centuries the Jews believed this could only be accomplished by Gentiles first becoming Jewish proselytes. In other words, a Gentile could approach God, but only after first becoming a Jew. This led to arrogance and a perceived Jewish monopoly on God’s grace. But that wasn’t God’s plan. He had something much better, a mystery to them but now a truth revealed to us.
Time to Pray
It addition to thanking God for allowing you, as a Gentile, into His Kingdom with full standing as a son, you might also want to think about other mysteries of His character He wants to reveal to you. God’s wisdom is inexhaustible and I personally believe one of our greatest joys will be spending much of eternity learning more about Him. Are there things about God you don’t know? Are they a mystery to you? If so, that means these mysteries are knowable and known to those He chooses to reveal them. And that person, according to Scripture, is you.
Remember, the only difference between the intimacy we have with the Lord compared with the spiritual lives of Paul, James and John, Peter, or even Billy Graham, is the time we spend with the Lord compared to the time they spent with Him. Nothing more. God does not show partiality and He does not like one of His children more than another (Acts 10:34). So the only thing holding us back from the relationship with God we always thought possible, but just seemed out of reach, is the time we spend with Him. And that is something that can change. Right now. Today.
This Sunday morning we will be looking at what it means to surrender your life to the Lord. But, more than just trying to understand what the concept of total surrender means, we will ask the “how” questions in order to learn specifically how to submit and surrender and receive the promise such actions hold. We will take a step-by-step approach to this all-important subject and, hopefully, learn some tools we can apply to other promises in the Scriptures.
I am looking forward to seeing you tomorrow.