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The Mysteries of God
In Defense of the Faith
Monday, October 01, 2018
Pete Garcia

I've often asked myself why was the Bible written the way it was...a little here, a little there.  God's message to mankind, parceled out over 1,600 years to around 40 different writers, all from vastly different times and backgrounds.  Why do some subjects lend themselves to such an extent, that opposing views, whether it is on Baptism or the Second Coming, seemingly justify their opposing points of view?  You know what I'm talking about.  Any time you've discussed the bible with anyone else, you point to this verse to prove your point, and they point to another that seems to prove their point.  So why was God's word written like that, when the Holy Spirit could have had the Prophets, Apostles, and Writers state exactly what God means in such a way that it couldn’t possibly be construed any other way?

Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers.  Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.  And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some. Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” 2 Timothy 2:15-19 NKJV

Of late, I have undertaken a personal quest of sorts, to throw myself into the theological shark-tank of those directly opposed to what I believe.  In a way, I wanted to see if what I believed really held up to what I have come to understand, and thus far, I have not been disappointed.  But yet, I have met some very sincere brothers and sisters in Christ who feel with equal passion, that I'm as wrong as I think they are.

There are several different ways to approach this topic.  The first is, understanding that true, born again believers, who all have the same Holy Spirit, sometimes have vastly different understandings of God's word.  To be a born-again believer, one has to believe the fundamentals.  These are those things that differentiate us from the cults and fringe-pseudo christian groups who only piggyback off the name of Christ, but deny what it is to really be Christian:

1. The deity of Christ-includes: the virgin birth, sinless life, death, burial, and resurrection. (Phil 2:61 Tim 3:16)

2. The infallibility of Scriptures-from Gen 1 to Rev 22, God's word is inspired by God, and can be trusted. (2 Tim 3:16)

3. The Tri-une nature of God. (Gen 1:26Matt  28:19)

4. Man's helpless estate, in need of a Savior. (Rom 3:23)

5. Salvation by grace through faith, not of works (Titus 3:5Eph. 2:8-9)

So what is it that causes us born-again believers to divide ourselves so easily these days?  I believe it is over the 'mysteries of God' that are revealed in the New Testament, primarily through the Apostle Paul...which is why he has become the most divisive writer in the Bible.  Because it is through Paul that God reveals the deeper things of God that impact the Church.  To understand these correctly, reveals much to the believer.  To get these wrong, leads to heresy of varying degrees.

The Mysteries

What is a mystery according to Scriptures?  Simply put, a mystery (musterion-Greek) is something that had not yet been previously revealed to man.  It does not mean it didn't exist prior, but only that God kept that information 'close-hold' and revealed it at a later point.  Paul, to whom these were revealed too for the first time, explains what these things are to us as Christian’s.

1. The mystery of Israel's blindness (Rom 11:25-27)

2. The mystery of Christ in you (Eph 3:3-5)

3. The mystery of the Church (Eph 5:32)

4. The mystery of Godliness (1 Tim 3:16)

5. The mystery of the Rapture (1 Corinthians 15:51-56)

6. The mystery of Lawlessness (2 Thess 2:7)

Each of these, are things that were not revealed in the Old Testament, and had been hidden from the prophets and even the writers back then, for the better part of 4,000 years.  They recorded passages as moved the Holy Spirit, but they themselves didn't fully know what it was they were writing about.  (1 Peter 1:10-11)  It was Paul (former Pharisee and persecutor of the church) who said of himself, that no one taught him these things, but he learned everything from Christ Himself (Gal 1:11-12). 

If we fail to understand the mystery of Israel’s blindness, Christians will think that God is done with Israel, which leads to various flavors of replacement theology.  If we fail to see the mystery of Christ in you, who not only cleanses us, but also imparts His righteousness to us, then we think that our salvation is somehow dependent upon our own behavior.  If we fail to understand the mystery of the Church, we fail to understand our role and our royal standing in God's economy as 'the Bride'.  If we fail to understand the mystery of Godliness, than we fail to see how it is God's righteousness that demands perfection, and that God's love provided a way for man to attain that righteousness through Jesus Christ.  If we fail to understand the mystery of the Rapture, our hopeful expectancy is misplaced.  If we fail to understand the mystery of lawlessness, we fail to recognize the working of the Holy Spirit as the ‘Restrainer’ through the Church, and that ‘that day’ can’t come, until the Restrainer (with those whom He indwells and seals) has been removed. [See Eph 1:11-142 Cor 1:21-22Acts 2:1-4]

The Bible was written in such a manner, that it takes the Holy Spirit to guide us and to reveal its truth to us. (John 14:15-1815:26-2716:12-15)  It was why the Bible makes no sense to a non-believer.  It is why the Bible can be so easily tweaked and twisted, to allow those who would abuse God's message for their own glory, do so for their own destruction.  God's word was designed with the believer in mind.  Aside from the Holy Spirit, and various historical and archaeological proofs from our history, we are left with a 2,000 year old Book we identify as God's word to guide us day to day.

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds Hebrews 1:1-2

We don't have signs and wonders, nor do we have prophets designated by God to speak for God these last days.  We have no priests who we act as mediators for us with God.  We have Jesus Christ, who now serves as our mediator, but came as a Prophet (Deut 18:15), and one day as our King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. (Rev. 19:16) We are family, a royal family that is, and we have access to God's throne day and night where we lay our cares and concerns before our Father. (1 Peter 2:9)

But, we are not all gifted the same, as 1 Corinthians 12 points out.  We are all given different callings and different understandings, I think in large part, to draw us to different ministries that all make up the 'body of Christ'.  To some, the prophetic word is that which brought them back to the Bible, or sustained their interest in it, or even led them to believe in the first place.  To others, prophecy is all just 'pie in the sky' things that no one can understand.  To others, their understanding of prophecy has been corrupted through man's departure of the literal interpretation, and they have been led to believe in a complicated, inconsistent view of the prophetic word.

Clearly, the Bible was designed in such a way that it could only take the Holy Spirit to help one 'rightly divide' the word.  We have very clear passages such as John 3:16John 14:6and Romans 3:23 that leave zero room for deviation.  Why couldn't the entire bible have been written in this manner, leaving zero wiggle room for wrangling different interpretations out of the passages.  Two reasons I can think of come to mind:

1. Differences promote discussion.

2. Differences keep us separated

These may seem odd things to point out, but think about that for a moment.  If we all agreed on everything, discussions die.  I've found this to be true on almost any subject.  I also think that this provides God a way to reward us differently based on how we approach a subject.  Some view missions as the main focus for the Church today, while others view teaching the brethren or self-growth as the most important.  Either way, differences stimulate discussion like nothing else can do.  The main reason for our differences, stem from HOW we interpret the Scriptures.  Some take the Bible in a historical-grammatical-literal manner.  Many others do not, so we have the same Book, but we look at the passages very differently.

I also believe that we have unity in the body of Christ primarily due to the fundamentals of our faith.  While on the other hand, what others' have deemed as 'secondary' issues (those things not necessary to believe in for salvation) have largely divided us.  I believe this was by design to keep us from uniting under one banner of religion.

God knows man's heart, and He knew that we if were united under one common religion (denomination/branch/etc), man would corrupt the message.  I'm sure in its infancy, the Roman Catholic Church in the 4th-5th century AD had good intentions.  But if you consolidate power into the hands of just the clergy (the few), power then corrupts imperfect men.  Next thing you have is paganism in the church, anti-Semitism, selling indulgences, Crusades, and the Inquisitions.

This division is not for His benefit, but for our own.  Need I remind anyone on what God said in Genesis 11:6-7?

And the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”

Our theological languages have been confused, or allowed to be confused. There have always been differences in how we understand the Scriptures, but none so much as these days.  There are more denominations now then at any point in our history.  It is why in Revelation 2-3, you have seven separate churches, with seven uniquely different issues.  They weren't all the same, and Jesus admonishes and praises them, not because they were different, but for the good and wrong things they were doing.

I don't think any one group has THE perfect hermeneutic this side of the Rapture, because we all see through a 'glass darkly' (1 Cor. 13:12).  But I believe Pre-Millennial, Pre-Tribulational, Dispensationalism is the most accurate, and the most consistent.  But even we don't have all the answers, because there are things that have not yet been revealed.  One day we will understand, (1 Cor. 15:51-56).  Until then, may the Holy Spirit give you knowledge and understanding, and the wisdom to know when and how to apply it.


About Pete Garcia

Last week: Where We Aren't?

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