THOUGHTS FROM EPHESIANS

50 THE MYSTERY OF THE GOSPEL – 2

A second meditation on Ephesians 6:19

 

Last week we looked at the phrase ‘the mystery of the gospel’ in relation to the meaning given to it by Paul in Ephesians – the eternal purpose of God, once hidden, but now revealed in the Gospel, to unite Jews and Gentiles as the one people of God ‘in Christ’.

This week we look at two other aspects of the ‘mystery’ of the Gospel, both of which are mentioned in Paul’s letter to the Colossians.

The first of these, which is something of an explanation of the ‘mystery’ of uniting Jew and Gentile in Christ, is mentioned in Colossians 1:27:

‘To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.’

Simply explained: it is ‘Christ in you’ which makes a Jew acceptable to God, and it is ‘Christ in you’ that makes a Gentile acceptable to God. This, and this alone, is ‘the hope of glory’ for all believers, whether Jew or Gentile. This encapsulates ‘the glorious riches of this mystery’ – which silently contrasts the puny, variable and fallible human obedience of divine law with the constancy and irreducible perfection of ‘Christ in you’: his perfect life counted ours; his sin-bearing death counted ours; his Spirit indwelling us, guaranteeing our permanent acceptance by God [2Corinthians 1:22; 5:5; Ephesians 1:13,14]. This common basis of salvation, outlaws both all fears that salvation is insecure and all performance based distinctions between believers. As Paul has pointed out in Ephesians, and again confirmed in Colossians 1:26, this ‘Christ in you’ is embedded in, and the outworking of, the eternal purpose of God, formerly hidden, but now made known through the Gospel.

The second point that we are looking at this week is the essential companion of both the first and the previous aspects of ‘the mystery of the Gospel’ – that this mystery is actually Christ himself.  He is the mystery of God – Colossians 2:2-3.

This encompasses all that we have understood so far, but so much more. Here we learn that Christ himself is God’s secret, God’s mystery, the place were all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge of God are revealed.

Do we have a question about God? We will find the answer in Jesus Christ.
Do we have a question about God’s relationship with us? We will find the answer in Jesus Christ.

The human search for meaning and truth finds its ultimate answers here, in Jesus Christ. We need search no more. Having found Jesus Christ we need no longer engage in this universal human quest. Having found Jesus Christ we are now set free from having to find the answers for ourselves, for God has here, in Christ, placarded the answers before our eyes. Having found Jesus Christ we have found, not just 'the mystery of the Gospel', but 'the mystery of God'.

Let us then cast aside that heavy quest, that heavy burden, in which we try to find our own answers to spiritual questions, and in which there is no certainty that we have found the truth so we keep searching for more and more and more.

Christ himself told us that to know him is to know God, to see him is to see God [John 14:6-9]. To search beyond or beside Jesus Christ for additional truth is therefore tantamount to blasphemy. Paul tells that ‘all the fullness’ of God dwells in Christ [Colossians 1:19; 2:9].

So let us embrace the joy and the peace that comes from knowing Christ, in whom ‘the full riches of complete understanding’ are available to us, and in whom ‘the mystery of God’ has been fully and finally revealed.

No further spiritual truth is needed. In fact any ‘more’ is actually ‘less’.

© Rosemary Bardsley, 2011.