THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST
". . . that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief.
"And by referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ."
Ephesians 3:3, 4
There are two great mysteries that Paul shared in his letters to the churches. He wanted the believers to whom he wrote to have an understanding into both of these mysteries and to spiritually apprehend this knowledge through revelation. He made it clear that he received this understanding through a revelation and that was also the way that they (and we) would receive it. My prayer is that God will show you these things through His glorious Spirit.
The Mystery of God
". . . that their hearts may be encouraged having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ Himself . . ." Colossians 2:2
God has a secret. That secret has been kept by God throughout the ages. When Christ came to earth, He came to bring this secret to the realm of man. He mostly came to reveal this secret to the Jews. However, most did not understand His message.
But what was His message? I mean what was the core essence of what he preached? Was it love? Or mercy, salvation, or healing? No. Even though He spoke of these things, they were only descriptions of the one great message or theme. In a nutshell, His message was that God has kept a secret since before time. It was now time for God to share His secret. This secret (mystery) is Christ Himself!
The Revelation of the Father
Christ's purpose in coming to this earth was to reveal the Father. Just read the gospel of John and you cannot help but see this, that is, if your eyes are open! Christ is the revealer of the Father. If you want to see and know God, you must come to see and know the One whom He sent. Christ is the Way to the Father. You cannot come by any other way. If you have "seen" Christ, then you have seen the Father. Christ is the "Expresser" of the Father. The Father is made visible through His Son. The fullness of the Godhead rests in Christ and He is the one who shows us the Father.
The Only Relationship in the Universe
There is only one relationship that exists in this universe. That is the relationship between the Father and the Son. (John 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18) God only has one relationship with one Person. The Son is the only one who has a relationship with the Father. This is an exclusive relationship that is only between two Persons.
This means that you cannot have your own personal relationship with God. Christians are so concerned about their personal relationships with God yet I am here to tell you that such a thing does not exist! You do not have your own personal relationship with God. The only relationship He has is with His only begotten Son.
The Gift of Relationship
However, what God did was He took that exclusive relationship that He has with His Son and placed it into your heart! Now Christ is your relationship with the Father. Now, because you are in Christ, you share in that relationship that He has with the Father. His Father is now your Father because you are in Him. Isn't this marvelous? You relationship to God is Christ. In fact, He is your relationship to everything.
Christ is the unveiling of God! He is the Father revealed to us in human flesh. Do you want to touch God? Do you want to know God? The only way that you can do so is in and through Christ. Christ is our relationship to God. We relate to God in Him. That is the mystery of God.
The Mystery of Christ
Paul wants us also to understand and participate with him in something he calls the "mystery of Christ." He begins to explain about this in Ephesians chapter three. ". . . to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow-heirs and fellow-members of the body, and fellow-partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel . . ." Ephesians 3:6
The whole letter to the Ephesians is written to explain this mystery: the mystery of Christ. If the mystery of God is Christ, then what do you think is the mystery of Christ? The mystery of God is the fact that Christ is the fullness of God, the unveiling of God, the expression of God, and the enlargement of God. What could the mystery of Christ be? The Body! Christ is the expression of the Father and the body is the expression of Christ.
The Fullness of Him
"And He put all things in subjection under His feet and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all." Ephesians 1:22, 23
The word "fullness" in the Greek literally means "completion." Isn't this wonderful? Paul is saying here that the body is the completion of Christ! The body (the church) is the expression of Christ. All that is in Christ is to come out through His body. Just as Christ reveals the Father, so the church reveals Christ. Just as Christ is the expression and enlargement of the Father, so the church is to be the expression and enlargement of Christ. The body is the expression and enlargement of the Head.
Obviously, the physical human body expresses the person who is within. The body is "the instrument of life" as defined in the original language. The life within is expressed without through the vehicle of the body. So also is Christ!
Paul was the one to whom God gave the revelation of the church being the body of Christ. The Head expresses Himself through His body. The Head and the body together makeup the complete new man; the whole Christ; the corporate Christ made up of many members.
"And considerable multitudes were added to the Lord." Acts 11:24b
Luke tells us in Acts that people were "added to the Lord." This is the enlargement of Christ. The Head expanded His fullness into His body. You and I are members of the body. We are members of Christ!
Brothers and sisters, when you begin to "see" this mystery with your spirits, you will begin to have a completely new and different perspective of the other members of the body! You will begin to see them for what they really are; the members of Christ!
"This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church."