"The Mysteries Of God"
I Corinthians 4:1
The word "mystery", as it is used in the New Testament, refers to something once hidden but now revealed. That which was hidden under the types and shadows of the law is now revealed in the gospel. That which is hidden from natural, unregenerate, unbelieving people is revealed to believers by the Holy Spirit. The word is used twenty-two times in the New Testament. But the mysteries revealed are seven.
1. THE MYSTERY OF GODLINESS (I Tim. 3:16) is the whole body of revealed truth regarding the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ the incarnate, crucified, risen, exalted, saving Son of God (Eph. 6:19; Col. 2:2; 4:3).
2. THE MYSTERY OF FAITH (I Tim. 3:9) is the message of salvation by the grace of God, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the message of the gospel (I Cor. 2:7).
3. THE MYSTERY OF SPIRITUAL UNION (Eph. ; Col. 1:27) is the blessed union of God's elect to Christ. We are in Christ and Christ is in us. Believers are so thoroughly one with Christ that all that he is and has as the God-man, we are and have in him. His doing is our doing. His acceptance is our acceptance. And his reward is our reward.
4. THE MYSTERY OF PROVIDENCE (Rom. ; Eph. 3:3-9) is the fact that God has always intended to save chosen sinners out of every nation. To that end he sovereignly rules all things. Even the fall and casting away of the Jews was used by God to be a means of bringing the gospel to the Gentiles.
5. THE MYSTERY OF THE STARS AND CANDLESTICKS (Rev. 1:20) is the assurance given to faithful pastors (stars) and gospel churches (candlesticks) that they are in the hands of Christ, established, provided for, and preserved by him.
6. THE MYSTERY OF INIQUITY (II Thess. 2:7) and of Babylon (Rev. 17:5) is the wicked influence of freewill, works religion, as it is used by God to be an instrument of judgment upon those who receive not the love of the truth.
7. THE MYSTERY OF THE RESURRECTION (I Cor. 15:51) is the wonder of how Christ will both raise the dead and reconcile all things to God (Eph. 1:9-10) at his glorious second advent.