This is the Big Mystery?!?!?

I really like the use of the word mystery in Scripture. Paul uses it alot, especially in Colossians and Ephesians. Take Ephesians 3, for example. According to Paul:

Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 

So the mystery is a big deal. It makes you excited to know what it is, this mystery that has been hidden in God for ages and ages in the past. So what is the big mystery? The big mystery is that Gentiles and Jews have equal footing in the kingdom of God. No one is more important, everyone has the same rights and privileges as children.

I admit, it seems a little anti-climactic to me. This is the mystery? Racial reconciliation? A multi-ethnic kingdom where everyone is equal? Shouldn’t it be something like the secret to happiness, or a treasure map to follow? 

Nope.

This is it. And it is a big deal. Here’s why: The formation of a multi-ethnic family of God is the visible manifestation of the power and wisdom of God. Here’s how Paul says it:

His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.

In those days, when one kingdom conquered another, it was more than just a political upheaval. When one country took over another, it was the belief that the winning country’s god was dominant over the losing country. The Romans knew this, and that’s why when they took over a people, they renamed all of the gods of the conquered people with Roman names. It showed the dominance of the conquering deity.

So here is the church, a “kingdom” that has conquered the hearts of people of every tribe, tongue, and nation on the planet (or at least is headed in that direction.) In that conquering, the bringing together of all these different people, the absolute dominance of the God of the Bible is shown.

And according to Paul, there is an audience watching. The audience is the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, presumably both good and evil. It is as if God has put the church on center stage and said, “See? Observe my glory displayed here in my people. I am a conquerer of hearts, and here is the proof of my dominance in the universe.”

That’s the mystery, and that’s the wisdom of our conquering God.

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2 Comments

  • Eddy Barnes says:

    I’ve been reading and meditating on these very verses just today. My pastor often comments that the word “manifold” in Eph. 3:10, is the same greek word that was used in the Septuagint to refer to Joseph’s “multi-colored” coat…perhaps an interesting tidbit.

  • Michael K. says:

    That is interesting about Joseph’s coat – I think it furthers the point that God wants a multi-racial, multi-cultural church.

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