THE MYSTERY OF HIS WILL
Ephesians 1:7-9 In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace; wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself.
A mystery is something that has not been, or cannot be, explained; something unknown; something that is now, or has intentionally been kept, a secret. It is something that cannot be comprehended by human knowledge or understanding. All of these definitions of a mystery seem to apply to its use in the lesson text, but the last definition seems to be more applicable. Before proceeding with the lesson found in this text, notice what was written by Moses concerning the Old Testament law. The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things, which are revealed, belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law (Deut. 29:29).
Through Moses, God told the children of Israel that He holds many secrets or mysteries. Some He has kept hidden, and some He has revealed. Those things revealed were made known to them that they may do all the words of this law. Although some things of God remained a mystery to the Jewish nation, enough was revealed to enable them to know, and obey, His will. God kept back nothing that was necessary and profitable for them to know, regarding their obedience to Him, that would bring salvation. To those of us living in the New Testament era, this same promise of God remains true today. Although God has revealed more of the mystery of His will to us, living under the Christian dispensation, than was made known in either the Patriarchal Age or the Mosaic Age, we are assured that each age was given sufficient knowledge of His will to find eternal salvation for the souls of all mankind living in that era.
God's covenant with Abraham, which says that in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed (Gen. 12:3), revealed a portion of His plan of salvation that, up to that moment of time, was a mystery to all people living during the Patriarchal Age. Through the prophet Micah, God revealed another portion of the mystery by telling Israel that the Messiah would be born in the town of Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2). Through Isaiah, God revealed the virgin birth of Jesus (Isa. 7:14), and that He would be descended from the stem of Jesse (Isa. 11:1), the father of David. Isaiah wrote, by the inspiration, about the coming of him that crieth in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord (Isa. 11:1), which is later confirmed by the apostle, Matthew, to be John the baptizer (Matt. 3:3). Isaiah also prophesied of the conversion of the Gentiles, the mission of Jesus on earth as well as his death, all of which were confirmed by New Testament writers.
These are only a few pieces of the mystery of salvation that at one time was hidden, but are now revealed by God through His inspired prophets and gospel writers. The mystery has been revealed, in an unfolding fashion, to mankind throughout the ages, at the time God chose as appropriate to make each bit of it known. In our lesson text it, is referred to as the mystery of His will. In other scriptures, reference is made to the mystery of the kingdom (Mark 4:11), the mystery of the gospel (Eph. 6:19), the mystery which hath been hid from ages ...this mystery among the Gentiles (Col. 1:26-27), the mystery of God (Col. 2:2), the mystery of Christ (Col. 4:3). All represent one additional bit of information revealing God's plan of salvation available to mankind.
Where is heaven, what will it look like, what will I look like, will I recognize God, Christ, Adam, Noah, Abraham, the prophets, the apostles, Timothy, Titus, the woman that gave two mites, and others - even the thief on the cross? When will Christ come again - when is the Day of Judgment? All of these bits of information are still mysteries known only to God, and will be revealed in the time of His choosing.
What we do know is that the mystery has been sufficiently revealed that we can become a Christian, as He has commanded, and by remaining faithful to His will, we can enjoy eternal salvation in heaven. Worry not about the mysteries yet unrevealed, only obey that portion of the mystery that has been made known. This we know - O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been His counselor? Or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto Him again? For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen (Rom. 11:33-36).