The third element of Paul’s stewardship is that it has given him great insight: “. . . the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly.” Scholars are not exactly sure what he meant by that. It is probable that he wrote another letter (or several) before this, which had explained much of this mystery. But it could also be a reference to what he has written previously in this letter. He wrote,
It is through the Son, at the cost of his own blood, that we are redeemed, freely forgiven through that full and generous grace which has overflowed into our lives and opened our eyes to the truth. For God had allowed us to know the secret of his plan, and it is this: he purposes in his sovereign will that all human history shall be consummated in Christ, that everything that exists in Heaven or earth shall find its perfection and fulfilment in him (Ephesians 1:7-10)
Could this brief statement be what he was referring to? He says, “When you read this you can see my insight into the mystery of Christ.” That is, “You can understand that I have great grasp and understanding of what this mystery is, that it is the secret of all things, touching everything in life. It is at the heart of all human existence. It is the mystery of the goal toward which God is moving in human affairs; therefore, it encompasses space, time, matter — all of life.” And he sums it up in these words: “the mystery of Christ” — Jesus Christ, at the heart of all things. None of us can help but be aware that this is an extremely troubled time in which we are living:
We do not know how to solve the problems which are overwhelming us. We are being swamped by our own inventions. We continue to make automobiles even after they have filled the highways and poisoned the air. We don’t know how to break loose from this syndrome. We don’t know what to do with the millions of people who have been shoved off into ghettos, areas of our cities where economic pressures force them to live, and prevent them from having available to them the resources of life that many of us enjoy.
We don’t know how to balance this. We don’t know how to feed the world. We are unable to stem the tide of broken marriages, and so our divorce rate is higher than that of any other nation in the world. We don’t know what to do about these things. Why? Many writers — thoughtful, perceptive men — are sitting down and trying to analyze where we have gone wrong, and why we cannot understand what to do. Some propose one solution and some another; some are partially right, and some are almost totally wrong. But the reason they cannot grasp the answer is that they have never dealt with the heart of the problem, the great secret to all things. The key mystery is Christ (Author Unknown)
If you read that as merely theological language, you have missed the importance of what he is saying — that every bit of life finds its final solution in the person and being of the Lord Jesus himself. God has set his Son at the heart of all things. So, understanding this great mystery is the key to the ultimate solutions we are seeking. If we begin to understand what Christ is, who he is, what he does, how we can lay hold of him — we will start to see the solutions to these problems unfold, as they are indeed unfolding in many of our lives. Answers are coming into being as we grasp what Christ has made available to us. I know that sometimes we are so blinded by familiarity with these things that we miss the impact of this. But I pray that God will open the eyes of our understanding, that we will see how wonderful this great mystery is, and how important it is to understand it thoroughly and to enter into it.
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