Treasures New and Old
Elkmont Baptist Church
Beloved: Grace and Peace
The Faith Delivered unto the Saints (Part 5)
". . . the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." Jude 1:3
May God bless you all!
Jude, perhaps frustrated that so many believers of the Way now being called Christians by the world, would be enticed and deceived to fall back into both the ways of the world and old failed religious practices, has penned a short, and to the point, letter. Look whom he addresses:
Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ,
that ye should earnestly contend for
the faith which was once delivered unto
called. Mercy unto you, and
peace, and love, be multiplied. Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort
- Jude 1:1-3 (bold added)
I hope to share over the next many months principles, truths, and tidbits concerning the "faith which was once delivered unto the saints." The goal? To, therefore, put you in remembrance.
[computer software] . Franklin, TN: Equipping Ministries Foundation. (Original work published 1890)
Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries.
Meyers, R. (2005). e-Sword.
What is a Mystery?
So the faith that has been delivered to us is certainly a mystery to those who do not know Christ as their personal savior, and unfortunately, too many believers as well. What is the mystery of our faith? Why is it a mystery? What is a mystery - what does it mean in regards to our faith? Let's first examine the word
in the Greek is
) "from a
the mouth); a
or "mystery" (through the idea of
into religious rites): - mystery" (Strong's G3466).
Something hidden to those outside of the approved assembly. Only those who have been accepted into the group, in this case, believers of the Lord Jesus Christ, will be able to understand the mystery, to be partakers of the benefits of the mystery.
Others may have read about the mystery, even think they know about it, but our mystery must be experienced, not just read about.
So what is our mystery? Let's look at a few verses first . . .
And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the
kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all
things are done in
parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and
sins should be forgiven them.
"For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this
, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is
happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in" (bold added).
"Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my
gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the
, which was kept secret since the world began," (bold added).
1 Corinthians 2:7:
"But we speak the wisdom of God in a
, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:" (bold
Ok, so the mystery of our faith has been hidden for a long time and is only being revealed to us who believe. It is revealed (revelation of the mystery) and includes God's wisdom which God has told us that he gives it to us liberally - abundantly - when we ask.
So what does the mystery include?
Let's look at a few verses that will give a little insight to the mystery . . .
1 Corinthians 15:51:
"Behold, I show you a
; We shall not all sleep, but
we shall all be changed," (bold added).
"Having made known unto us the
of his will, according
to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:" (bold added).
"This is a great
: but I speak concerning Christ and the
church" (bold added).
"And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may
open my mouth boldly, to make known the
of the gospel," (bold added).
Ok, so the mystery contains a few understandable elements that include:
Those who are believers will not all sleep (read that remain dead) but instead will be changed (receive a new eternal body). For the world this is unbelievable - they have no true concept of eternal life. Consider, Christians are first saved (God calls that being justified - just as if we never sinned). Then while we live on this earth, God is cleaning us up, getting us ready for the kingdom, and He calls that process sanctification - which means being set apart (for Him of course!). Finally, we will one day be changed into our eternal bodies, and they will be glorious. That final step is called glorification. We have been justified, are being sanctified, and will be glorified!
Ephesians 1:9 tells us that mystery involves His will and His good pleasure. The world tells us to "do our own thing", and "follow your own heart", and "get all the gusto", and other such adages. But we know better. We know that we can only be truly free and blessed as we seek to do His will and seek to please Him - not ourselves.
Ephesians 5:32 tells us that when Paul is talking about the mystery, he is referring to Christ and His church, His bride. This is the exclusive group mentioned earlier in this article. Without this special relationship that we alone have with Christ, there would not be a mystery.
And Ephesians 6:19 lets us know that the mystery is all wrapped up in the gospel - the good news that Jesus Christ died for us on the cross and has totally taken upon Himself our sins. This alone can be a mystery to those whom we share this with. Why would this guy do that? How does it work - how can one person, even if he is God, allow millions to have their sins washed away and sacrifice His own son in their/our place? Until God indwells us after we have repented of our sins and accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are not able to understand the mystery either.
Here are a number of verses that one can read and see a little more about the mystery that we live in/through:
Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:26-27; Colossians 2:2, 4:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:7; 1 Timothy 3:9; 1 Timothy 3:16; Revelation 1:20, 10:7, 17:5, and 17:7
Where do we go from here?
Ok, so there is this mystery. We are part of it. We have been included into the family if we are believers in Christ and are saved. How can I learn more about the wondrous, hidden from the word, mystery? We gain some insight into what we need to do by Paul's words from Ephesians 3:3-4: "How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)." When we read? Read what? Oh, Paul's words - his writings.
As we study God's Word, His Holy Spirit will continue to unveil His mysteries to us and continue the work of conforming us into the image of His dear Son - Jesus Christ.
So, remember, you are part of the mystery!