April 13, 2021 – Tuesday
1 Timothy 3:16 NIV
16 Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great:
He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.
1 Timothy 3:16 NKJV
16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:
God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels,
Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.
Paul is making a statement that all Christians should agree upon, thus the use of Beyond all question NIV or And without controversy NKJV. What follows should be basic truths for all Christians, truths that are rudimentary, undeniable, and convincingly true.
The mystery was not so much hidden, but not understood and hardly believable initially for many Jews – that Jesus was for all of mankind, Jew and Gentile alike. Even Psalm 117:1, Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles! Praise Him, all you peoples, points to such a truth. Then there is Isaiah 49:6, He says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” God’s salvation was and is meant for all of mankind.
Now we come to the undeniable truths of the Gospel in six short phrases. First, God appeared in the flesh or was manifested in the flesh as Jesus the Christ. Christ meaning Messiah, the Messiah to the Jews first and then to the Gentiles. Second, He was vindicated by the Spirit or Justified in the Spirit, not for any sin, but to declare who He was and is. This occurred when He was baptized by John the Baptist and in Matthew 3:16-17, As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.”
Third, we have He was seen by angels. They were there at His birth as told in Luke 2:8-12, And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Of course, the angels found all of this to be of great interest as Jesus was their creator as well as ours as told in Colossians 1:16a, For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth NKJV. Fourth and fifth combined, He was preached among the nations and was believed on in the world. Paul and his companions on his missionary journeys literally preached Jesus among the nations and brought great numbers to belief. Spurgeon tells us God’s way of creating faith in men’s hearts is not by pictures, music, or symbols, but by the hearing of the word of God. This may seem a strange thing, and strange let it seem, for it is a mystery, and a great mystery, but a fact beyond all controversy; for ever let the church maintain that Christ is to be preached unto the Gentiles. I mention Spurgeon because so many today think the gospel should be some great movie or great lights to bring His gospel to the world, but God had a different idea as in Romans 10:17, So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God NKJV.
Finally, we read, He was taken up in glory or received up in glory. This would be after His resurrection when He ascended into Heaven as in Acts 1:9, Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight and in Mark 16:19, So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.
Prayer: Thank You for having Paul present this wonderful summary of the truths of the Gospel. It permists us to know what we as Christians should be able to agree upon without question. – In Jesus Name. Amen.