The Mystery of the Church

The Mystery of the Church

God entrusted Paul with the mystery of the gospel—something that was not formerly known to Old Testament believers. God had not changed His plan; however, the Old Testament only gave brief glimpses into the gospel and the church. God chose to progressively reveal Himself, giving us far greater understanding after the life of Christ.

After Jesus Christ rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, God gave the ministry of sharing the gospel to the apostles, including Paul. This involved not only proclaiming the gospel but also creating communities of believers—collectively, the Body of Christ.

The Mystery of the Church

Part of the mystery of the church is that both Jews and Gentiles are bound together in one body. Whereas formerly one had to be Jewish by nationality or adopt Jewish customs in order to follow God, the gospel brought Jews and Gentiles together. The promise of the gospel is for everyone—regardless of nationality.

Our spiritual birth is what makes us members of the Body of Christ. At the same time, though, we are all unique. God has given each of us a sphere of ministry in which we can glorify His name with the gifts He has given us.

The Unfathomable Riches of God

God has given us His gracious revelation in Christ. It is not something we can understand merely by looking at the natural world; we need His special revelation in order to understand. Even so, we cannot even begin to plunge the depths of God. His wisdom goes far beyond that of our own.

The New Testament (in this case, Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians), gives us a greater understanding of truth already given. This includes not only the church, but also topics such as salvation and life after death. These topics were all hinted at in the Old Testament but not yet understood.

For example, the Old Testament believers did not understand that the Messiah would first be the Suffering Servant but would return as reigning King. However, the first coming of Jesus made this more clear, though we still await His return. But for now, the church reveals the manifold wisdom of God—”things into which angels long to look” (1 Peter 1:12).

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