Paul writing to the church at Colosse tells them how much he agonizes over them. Paul tells them he desires that they will be encouraged, bound together with strong ties of love and that they have full confidence and complete understanding in God’s secret plan (mystery) which is Christ Himself.
That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and Christ; (Col 2:2)
In Ephesians, Paul states that God has revealed a secret plan (mystery) about Jesus to him, which had been kept secret for many generations. God’s plan had now been revealed by the Holy Spirit to God’s apostles and prophets. This secret plan was that all who believed (both Jews and Gentiles) in the “Good News” (gospel) would be part of the same body, the church, and enjoy the promises through Jesus Christ.
Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ.
Eph 3:3-4 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ.
God’s mystery was about Christ Himself, Him crucified. Paul had said that he did not want to know anything among them except Jesus and Him crucified.
1 Cor 2:2 For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
Why was the crucifixion needed? Why was it kept a secret? The crucifixion was needed because of man’s sin because the first Adam sinned and all of mankind since.
We have seen that God knew that Adam was going to sin and disobey him even after Adam was told “that taking of the tree of knowledge” would lead to death (Gen 2). After this sin, we saw that God provided “coats of skin” to cover the results of the sin which was a type (foreshowing) the crucifixion.
God uses this example to show us the sacrificial system of “blood sacrifices, substitutionary deaths” to satisfy God’s requirement that sin requires death.
The Bible says all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. The Bible teaches that God foreknew of man’s sin before it happens and that He put a plan in place before the world was created to solve this problem.
Heb 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus is both the author (defined) of the plan and the finisher (provision) of the plan. The plan required death for sin and then God provided the substitutionary death of Jesus to pay the debt. The whole tabernacle system, priests, and sacrifices pointed to Christ and crucifixion.
Sin is the disobedience of God’s commandments (covenant). God is a covenant-making God. It is for our good. He is faithful to His covenant for a thousand generations (always faithful). God has never broken His covenant, but man has. When God issue His first commandment, He said the breaking of it required death (eat and die). Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate; therefore, death was required. God is faithful to His Word.
The surprise (the mystery of Christ) was not that death (justice) was required, but that God would not only allow a substitute (grace) but would also provide it in Christ and His crucifixion, this was the heart of the mystery.
As we wrestle with an understanding of God’s mystery, we will start to see how God’s foreknowledge and fore-ordination interface with the freedom that God has granted to man. God had granted man freedom (dominion) over the earth but had defined the boundaries of that freedom and the blessings in a covenant relationship for obedience and the curses for getting outside God’s covenant boundaries through disobedience.
The Bible teaches that God foreknew of man’s disobedience and foreordained a solution, which was the crucifixion of Christ. The paradox of this situation is that an all-powerful God limits Himself by honoring the covenant freedom that He has granted to man. Because of His foreknowledge, God knew that if Satan and man knew of His plan (mystery) they would make every attempt to block His plan, therefore God elected to keep it a secret.
1Co 2:7-8 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
By keeping it a secret God allowed Pilot, the high priest, and others who were involved in the crucifixion of Christ to decide to do so by an act of their God-given freedom. Before the world was created God foreknew of Adam’s sin and that a method of restoration would be required. Therefore, before God made the world, He chose (foreordained) that mankind could be reconciled in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. God’s unchanging plan has always been to adopt man into his own family by bringing mankind to himself through Jesus Christ. This was the mystery kept secret (good news).
A way of restoration was needed because of sin which was willful disobedience of God’s commandment of not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This was mankind’s first sin. This command that requires a choice of whether to obey or not is the basis of God’s covenant relationship with a man. God had laid before Adam and Eve a choice of life or death, a blessing or a curse. This command was for their good.
God’s ways are not man’s ways, yet God gives us much insight into His ways. He is a sovereign God who has the power to make anything, and everything takes place at His will, yet He limits Himself by delegating dominion (freedom) to mankind. God is faithful to this delegation of authority (covenant) for a thousand generations. God is faithful never to break His covenant, yet mankind continues to do so starting with Adam and Eve. God does not mention the word covenant when He commands Adam, yet Hosea says Adam broke God’s covenant.
God had told Adam and tells us that disobedience is the sin of breaking His covenant and the penalty is death. This is the law of God. In Genesis God said if you take of the tree of knowledge, you will surely die. In Romans God said the wages of sin is death. When God is faithful to enforcing the death sentence it is justice. The Bible tells us that God is not partial and unchanging, therefore His Holiness requires a consistent response to sin, regardless of who is committing the act.
In Isaiah, the Bible says that we are all like sheep and have gone astray. In Romans, it says that all have sinned. In other words, God could sentence all mankind to death since we all have broken His covenant. The surprise that God sprung on Satan was that He had foreknown of Adam’s sin and had a plan in place to restore mankind through the blood of the Lamb. This was the Mystery of Christ and the Gospel which is provided through the grace of God.
In Genesis when God tells Satan that seed of Eve while crushing his head is a prophecy (promise) of Christ and the cross, it is not enough information for Satan or man to understand which Seed of Eve would be the One nor how the seed would accomplish the prophecy. Thousands of years later God told John the Baptist and John proclaimed “Behold the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world” about Jesus Christ.
Today, we praise God for the wonderful kindness that He has poured out on us because we belong to his dearly loved Son. God is so rich in kindness that he purchased our freedom through the blood of his Son, and our sins are forgiven. God has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. God’s secret plan has now been revealed to us; it is a plan centered on Christ, designed long ago according to his good pleasure. And this is His plan: At the right time, he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ, everything in heaven and on earth.
At the right time or in the fullness of time is the perfect timing of God. This perfect time of Christ’s first and “second advent” were known by God before creation due to His all-knowing ability. This perfect time is the time which God has already identified by His all-knowing (foreknowledge) ability. He foresees the specific time when mankind operating in his freedom granted by God freely chooses a course of action that leads to the final foreordained events planned by God. The first such event was the first advent of Christ culminating in His crucifixion, the second will be the second coming of Christ. The Bible says only God the Father knows (foresees) that specific time!
In the past, God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. But in these last days, God has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son, he made the universe and everything in it. The Son reflects God’s glory, and everything about him represents God exactly. He sustains the universe by the mighty power of his command. After he died to cleanse and redeem us from the stain of sin, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God of heaven. He is now waiting for His enemies to become His footstools.
This is a done deal, yet it has not yet taken place due to the fact God is still honoring His covenant with mankind. At a time (known by God) in the future, when the human race operating under the freedom granted by God will trigger the events that will initiate the second advent of Christ. God foreknows these events but will honor His covenant and not violate the freedom that He has granted man. He will not orchestrate the events but allow them to freely play out.
This Second Advent is rapidly approaching. Peter says I want to remind you that in the last days there will be scoffers who will laugh at the truth and do every evil thing they desire. They will deny that God made the heavens by the word of his command, and he brought the earth up from the water and surrounded it with water (2 Peter 3:3-7). They will declare that the world and all of creation are by evolution and not created by God.
If God did not create the world, then obliviously the record of the used water to destroy the world with a mighty flood was a myth. If God did not destroy the world in the past by a flood, then the world will not be consumed by fire on the Day of Judgment, as defined in the Bible which warns about how the ungodly people will perish. If there was no creation, then there is no God and no judgment.
Peter goes on to say you must not forget, dear friends, that a day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord isn’t being slow about his promise to return, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to perish, so he is giving more time for everyone to repent. But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and everything in them will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be exposed to judgment (2 Peter 3:8-10).
Since everything around us is going to melt away, what holy, godly lives we should be living! We should look forward to that day and hurry it along, the day when God will set the heavens on fire and the elements will melt away in the flames. However, many in the church are not looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world where everyone is right with God but is involved in the cares and tribulations of time. However, as true followers of Christ, as we are waiting for these things to happen, we should make every effort to live a pure and blameless life and be at peace with God. Remember, the Lord is waiting so that people have time to be saved.
Peter continues by saying in the meantime remember the heavenly Father to whom we pray has no favorites when He judges. He is impartial and will judge or reward us according to what we do. So, we must live in reverent fear of him during our time as foreigners here on earth. For we know that God paid a ransom to save us from the empty life we inherited from our ancestors. The ransom He paid was not mere gold or silver, but He paid for us with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose him for this purpose long before the world began, but now in these final days, He was sent to the earth for all to see. And He did this for you and me.
This was God’s secret plan (mystery of Christ and the Gospel) which is Christ Himself. This is no longer a secret. After the cross, we have been told that Jesus is the only (one) way to salvation. Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me. In Acts, the Bible states there is no other name that man can call on for salvation except the name of Jesus.
John 3:18 states there is no condemnation to those that believe in Jesus, but those who do not believe are condemned already. Just as the Publican cried out “Lord have mercy on me a sinner”, all men must do so to receive salvation. The Bible says he went home justified, in right standing with God.
I pray that all who read this document have cried out to God for mercy. If not, they will do so today. The Bible says that this is faith. Faith is believing that God exists and that He rewards those who seek Him. It is by grace through faith that one is saved and not of works, but unto good works that God has established for each of us.
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