The Great Mystery
A daily devotion for March 10th
1For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—
2Surely you have heard about the administration of God's grace that was given to me for you, 3that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God's holy apostles and prophets. 6This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God's holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:4-6)
In these verses, in brief form, is Paul's statement of the mystery that lies at the heart of all life. It consists of this great truth: When they come to Christ, Jews and Gentiles together are joint heirs, joint members of one body, and joint partakers of the promise. In those three terms you have the answers to the greatest struggles with which we humans are engaged today:
Heirs together has to do with possessions. Paul is touching the whole problem of humans and their universe and the reason we cannot solve our ecological riddles. The old creation that has existed since the beginning of time is gripped by an unbreakable law, which Paul calls
the bondage to decay in Romans 8:21. Everything is deteriorating. This is why the ecological problems of today are unsolvable. But Paul says that in Christ the breakthrough has occurred. God is beginning a new creation, one that lives by a wholly different principle and is not subject to this law.
In the realm of performance, this is already true. Why can't we get along with one another? Why are there so many family breakups? Because when we are still living in the old creation, those things are inevitable. But in the realm of the Spirit the breakthrough has already occurred. When we begin to
walk in the Spirit, then we can love, forgive, begin to reach out to others.
This is Paul's explanation of the great mystery. The remarkable thing about it is that you can experience it right now. It is the only hope you will ever have of living according to the glory God designed for people when He created them in the beginning. Put in these terms, this means that the present secular
civilization we are living in can be likened to a cocoon, clinging lifelessly to the branch of history. One of these days that cocoon will open in the springtime of the world, and a new being will step out—a being that is being created at this time right within the cocoon.
You can't wait till that time to get on the bandwagon; it has already started. This is the great mystery. You are either a part of the new creation, or you are a part of the old, but never both. You may live your life as a member of the new creation—in the midst of the old, but not part of it any more—
no longer foreigners and aliens, says the apostle.
Rather, break loose and be free in Jesus Christ.
Thank You, Lord, for this new creation of which I am a part through faith in Christ Jesus. Help me to live as a joint heir and partaker of the promise.
Life Application: How can we deal with the ecological problems of today? What ramifications will our efforts produce? What is the great mystery that lies at the heart of all life?
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Daily Devotion © 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.