Monday, November 07, 2005

God's Mystery, our Salvation

In Colossians 1:26 Paul speaks of a “mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations.” What kind of mystery would God have that he would keep it hidden for ages? According to Scripture, this mystery has now been revealed to His saints. “Now” means at the time Paul wrote this. That means that for ages past there has been some truth that God purposely waited to reveal until the time was right. In Romans 16:25, Paul tells us that the mystery was kept secret since the world began, but is now made manifest by the Scriptures and made known to all nations. Whatever this mystery is, God already had it in mind when He created the world! We get glimpses of what this mystery is in several passages. Romans 11:25, for example, says that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. In Ephesians 1:9ff Paul writes, “having made known to us the mystery of His will… that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth – in Him.” We see further in Ephesians 3:3-6 that this mystery was not made known to men in other ages, but now has been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel. There we have it. In the Old Testament it appeared that God had chosen one people, one nation to be His special people. But now we learn that since the beginning, God intended to bring the gentiles into the blessings of Christ offered in the gospel. In verse nine he continues, “and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” It’s amazing to me to think that God wanted to show His wisdom to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. From Ephesians 6:12 we know that our battle is with the principalities and powers in heavenly places. So, it seems to me that God is using this mystery of the inclusion of the gentiles in his eternal plan to demonstrate his wisdom to his enemies – the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. This is the plan of salvation that began with the people of Israel in the Old Testament era, but once Christ had come and completed the work of redemption, the mystery was unveiled in all of its splendor as the gospel was announced to all peoples everywhere. I wonder what the principalities and powers thought when once they only had to focus on one small people, but now their doom is sure as they see the manifold wisdom of God spreading like wild-fire throughout the world.

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