The Mystery of the Gospel
by Pr. Dave Mann
The topic, the mystery of Christ, had been a problem for me for a long time. I just saw nothing mysterious about Christ or the gospel. It all seemed straightforward. Then, a Bible teacher suggested that perhaps it was not mysterious to me because for nearly 2000 years God in Christ has been revealing the mystery. He explained, “You see, you are not living in the first century and you do not see any reason people from different ethnic groups who trust Christ should be divided. The revelation of the gospel of Christ has been doing its work effectively for two millennia. But in the 1st century, many people believed that the promises of God were unavailable to Gentiles—made available through Christ.” So, that is why Paul could write verse 6 with joy: “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.” (See also Colossians 1:25-27.)
Paul considers himself disqualified from the promises of God’s people because he opposed the church and even sought to kill those who followed the way of Jesus. But in order to demonstrate his grace, God chose to forgive Paul and to use him as Exhibit A in his revelation of the mystery. In a way, Paul saw his own life-turnaround as proof that God’s provision of forgiveness through the cross was now available for all people who would repent and turn to Christ. Still wagging his head in amazement, Paul writes in verse 8: “Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ.” (See also 1 Corinthians 15:9-10.)
Now, no matter one’s ethnicity of origin, all people can draw to Christ in faith. No need for a superior ancestry. No need for the sacrifice of a lamb. No need for an annual Day of Atonement. No need for a temple. Just repentance and faith in Christ. The doors of heaven are thrown open for all who believe! All of us can approach God with joy and confidence that our sins are forgiven. In verse 12, we read: “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” (See also Hebrews 10:19-22.)
Oh, thanks be to God for his magnificent plan to make salvation available to all the world—to everyone who believes and who calls upon the name of the Lord. Thank you, Father, for including me in your plan, in Jesus’ name, Amen.