I like a good mystery! Not the predictable sort; I like the ones that challenge the mind and stretch the imagination. The kind you almost feel like you have to work for to understand.
There is a mystery found in God’s Word. It is the ultimate mystery – A mystery of mysteries. No earthly mystery compares to the mystery of the gospel! Sadly, we do not dwell on the contents or the characters of the mystery enough. But when people do, I find the response is either worship or rebellion. Some behold the mystery and worship, while others grow angry and defiant.
In considering both responses, let’s first unpack the mystery.
Paul to the Ephesians says: This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. (Ephesians 3:6, ESV)
Considering the “mystery”
- What is it? The mystery is: “Why has Christ died for me”? Why am I a “fellow heir, a member of the same body or a partaker of the promise”? And, it is here that Paul begins to supply the answer to the mystery. It is “in Christ Jesus through the gospel”.
- So again, what is the mystery? Is it not this….? Why did He die for me? Why am I here? Why did he save me from my sins? He certainly did not have to, and He definitely did not owe it to me!
Christian – Pause and consider this mystery – it is mystery of all mysteries!
Some might presume – “of course Christ died for me”! Why wouldn’t He die for me? Sure He died for me, He loves me. But, wait friend – think about this mystery. We would do well digging into the mystery and mining its depths. We will spend eternity exploring this mystery. Christ died for the ungodly!
For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
It is not as if you and I deserved His death on the cross. Nor, have we done anything to earn His forgiveness of sins. He did not owe us and yet, He sacrificed Himself taking our sins and giving us His righteousness. What is the mystery? Is it not that the innocent One became guilty and that the guilty were made clean by the blood of Christ?
Friend, do not be flattered by the cross. (i.e. We are so lovable and amazing that God just couldn’t resist loving us and dying for us)… The cross does not flatter, it lays us low. Our sinfulness put Him there. We were unable to save ourselves, and yes, He did love us that much to die. But, His love was not motivated by our irresistible loveliness. Rather, it was motivated by His undeterred love and His unrelenting mercy.
“Our sins put him there. So, far from offering us flattery, the cross undermines our self-righteousness. We can stand before it only with a bowed head and a broken spirit. And there we remain until the Lord Jesus speaks to our hearts his word of pardon and acceptance, and we, gripped by his love and brimful of thanksgiving, go out into the world to live our lives in his service.” John Stott
- Keep in mind, this mystery was never a mystery to God.
Earlier in the opening of the letter to the Ephesians Paul tells us that: “….he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will…”
This mystery is not a mystery to God. He has planned it and purposed it before this world ever was! Praise Him!
- He has made this mystery known
Ephesians 1:9 shows us that God has made the mystery known. “…making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ…”
Paul is saying that the mystery has been made known. The mystery was and is made known in Christ (His life, death, resurrection, and ascension). Yes, the mystery has been made known in Christ, and yet….. it is still such a mystery! WHY ME and WHY YOU?!? How is it that Christ’s death has brought you life?
Christian…. do you understand the gospel? If you answered “yes”, then that is a mystery! How is it that you answered “yes”? How is it you understand the mystery? How is it that you came to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ?
The answer? Because of His Sovereign Grace!
The ultimate sacrifice (Jesus Christ) came to cover your sins once and for all. God’s salvation plan has been extended to Jew and Gentile, every tribe and nation, all those who receive Christ as their Savior!
Christ’s work on the cross is finished and the mystery has been revealed – shout it from the mountain tops the glory of the mystery – Christ died for the ungodly. Praise Him!
Consider the mystery today and let it freshly send you into worship of Him and service in His kingdom!