The Mystery Of Godliness?
By: Gary Colley
These important words are from Paul to the young preacher Timothy. He says, "And without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angeles, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory
(I Timothy 3:16)." There are some things of which there is such evidence they are "without controversy" or undeniably correct. No one can successfully argue with a fact. Jesus calls on all of His disciples to unite upon His Word, that we may have unity (John 17:20-21). Paul commanded all to speak "the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment (I Corinthians 1:10)." Paul speaks here of just such facts. "Mystery" in the Bible refers to that which is concealed until it is revealed. There is nothing "mysterious" or unintelligible in the Bible! True, some Bible references demand more study to be understood (II Peter 3:16). The confusion injected from men's thinking does cause difficulty and destruction (Matthew 15:9, Revelation 22:18-19). But, all men can understand the Word of God. In our text, I Timothy 3:16, there are six elements in the "mystery of godliness." Godliness here refers to the entire Gospel scheme or plan of salvation. 1. "God was manifest in the flesh," refers to the incarnation of Christ, which made Him both human and divine (Matthew 1:23,
John 1:14). 2. "Justified in the Spirit" refers to the Holy Spirit through the apostles vindicating Him from the charges of being an impostor! He is our redeemer sent from God (Acts 2:36-41). 3. "Seen of angels" suggests Heaven's deep interest in His work, as angels attended Him (Luke 2:9-13, Hebrews 1:6). 4. "Preached unto the Gentiles" pointing to the glorious truth that the Old Law of Moses was removed and that the Gospel was to be preached to all mankind as being equal before God (Mark 16:15-16, Romans 10:13). 5. "Believed on in the world" shows that wise men credited Christ with being the incarnate Son of God, and Savior of all who will obey Him (Hebrews 5:8-9). 6. "Received up into glory" is another great truth of God's scheme to save fallen man. Unlike any other, Jesus ascended back to Heaven as a crowning grandeur of His work of redemption. Great is the revelation of God's plan, by which all man can be saved. Have we obeyed??
(With this article there is a change in editors. I. D. Byars has for the past ten years done an excellent work of preparing and submitting these articles to the Southern Standard. We highly commend his good work, and know that many faithful readers have been immeasurable helped. There will be more articles from his pen intermittently. Due to health problems he had deemed it needful to be relieved of this work, and has chosen this writer to continue. Our prayer is that his health will improve and that he will continue to have many years with which to serve. Our intent and aim is that we may be of help to those who want to know "Where In The Bible Will I Find." Questions and comments are always welcome. We sincerely appreciate the devoted brethren who support this work, from the Dibrell, Earleyville, East End, Salem, Smyrna, and West Riverside churches of Christ. To God be the glory!.)