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Recognizing the Mystery (1 Timothy 3)

What does it mean to be the church of the Living God? The One who lives in and works through us is alive, active, all-powerful, involved. He does not slumber. He has not grown weary of His deep and painstaking work of drawing all men unto Himself. In fact, He is at work right now, going places that some Christians would dare not go, seeking to soften hearts that some Christians would label hopeless or reprobate.

I once worked with a fellow Christian who was discussing with me one of our particularly gospel-resistant coworkers. He supposed this young man was a "reprobate mind" whom God had "given over" to unbelief. In my heart, I thought, "No, brother, you're just angry at him for his mockery, but he is a lost 19- or 20-year-old young man who has never had his eyes opened to the light of Christ.” He needed prayer and displays of persistent love through the Spirit. This brother was so sure God had given up on the young man, yet God was at work, actively drawing him.

We love and serve a living God who is always doing His work within the church and, yes, out there in the world too, in the ears and hearts and minds of "all men" as He "draws" them to Himself. By remaining ready to open our hearts and mouths, we can be His vessels in this work.

You and I should be so free from the uptight religiosity of ritual and appearance-keeping that unbelievers ought to see a “mystery” to our godliness. Do others look at you and see a mystery behind your godliness? Or is it all the result of careful effort and appearance-keeping? It is a mystery that unimpressive, unknown, unsophisticated sinners like us could be transformed into heartfelt living reflections of Jesus Christ who delight in obeying God! But what is the mystery? The inexplicable element is the fact that another person has acted upon us, moved within us, and shared his godliness with us; it is not our own. Jesus, the mystery of our godliness was: “revealed in the flesh, was vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory” (1 Timothy 3:16).

Alex Mack

Teaching Pastor

The Rock Church

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