The Riches OF GRACE

“hath appeared to all men.” Titus 2:11

Robert W. Reed

April 2008

 

 

Mystery of Godliness

 

“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”

I Timothy 3:16

 

+ The Doctrine of Christ +

 

The mystery of godliness is summed up in the six articles of I Timothy 3:16, which reveal the whole life of Christ on earth, from His incarnation to His glorification. This great verse describes Christ and His work. In other words, Christ himself is the mystery of godliness and the text reveals God’s divine plan of redemption embodied in Him. The mystery of godliness is in contrast to the mystery of iniquity (II Thessalonians 2:7). Jesus Christ was God manifest in the flesh to bring salvation to mankind. This great mystery is to be preached and proclaimed to the world, for it is the sum of the gospel story and the glorious Godhead. Amen.

 

“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”

I John 5:7

 

This verse gives us six statements about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, from His birth to His ascension. It begins with the word’s, “without controversy”, meaning without question, undeniable, or indisputable.

 

God Was Manifest in the Flesh

 

His incarnation is first mentioned.

 

The invisible God became flesh and made Himself known to the world in order to die and redeem mankind (I John 1:1-3). According to John 1:1, the creator of the world became a creature, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In verse 14, the Word became flesh and dwelt among man. This was made possible through the virgin birth that is spoken of a number of times in the Scripture. The external God joined with true humanity. When we think of the Godhead, we think of infinite deity and finite flesh meeting in one person, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. Keep in mind, according to the authorized version, our text in I Timothy 3:16 says that God was manifest in flesh. Many of the other versions use the word he or who which takes away from the deity of Christ.

 

Justified in the Flesh

 

His vindication is now seen.

 

The word justified means, approved, vindicated, declared right, or attested (Matthew 11: 19; Luke 7:3-5; Romans 3:4). The Spirit was Christ’s witness that He was the Son of God and not an imposter. He was proved to be the true Messiah by His life, works, miracles, etc (John 3:34). The Spirit testified to the Messiah at His baptism (Matthew 3:16-17), His temptation (Matthew 4:1), His transfiguration (Matthew 17:1), and also at His resurrection (Romans 4:25; I Peter 3:18). The presence of the Holy Spirit in Christ’s ministry vindicated all His claims.

 

Seen of Angels

 

This statement reveals His manifestation (Hebrews 1:6, 13-14).

 

Angels are connected with the ministry of Christ in every aspect of His life, birth, temptation, cross, resurrection, ascension, and will attend His second advent in Jude 14. At His birth angels appeared to Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds (Luke 2:9-22). In Matthew 4:11,    angels ministered to Him and in John 20:11-12, angels were at the tomb, and according to Acts 1:10, angels were present at His ascension. Also, angelic beings worship the Savior and in Ephesians 3:8-10, they have a great interest in the wisdom and work of God.

 

Preached Unto the Gentiles

 

His proclamation is seen in this statement.

 

The great commission was not just for the Jews, but for the world (Matthew 28:18-20). The statement is a summary of the great commission and present mission work (salvation to all men). The gospel was preached to the known world in the first century (Colossians 1:5-6). Jesus Christ became the theme of preaching to all in the New Testament (Romans 1:16; 16:25-26; Ephesians 2:11-20; 3:6, Mathew 15:21-33).

 

Believed On in the World

 

This phrase reveals His magnification.

 

This is a summary of the result of preaching. Literally millions have been converted to Christ throughout the centuries. In Revelation 14:6 and in Revelation 7:9, 14 the Bible mentions the everlasting gospel to be preached to the nations. A great multitude from all nations, kindred, peoples, and tongues are saved. The context of Revelation 7 shows Jews and Gentiles receiving the Savior.

 

Received Up Into Glory

 

This shows His glorification.

 

This is a summary of Christ’s resurrection and ascension, and   includes His present ministry as intercessor. We serve a living Savior, seated at the right hand of the Father and is the head of the church (Ephesians1:20; 4:8). In John 17:5, Jesus said, “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” Jesus was truly glorified and exalted once He paid the sin debt for all mankind (Philippians 2:9-11). In Hebrews 7:25-26, Christ is revealed in His present position of High Priest, making intercession for us.

 

Conclusion

 

In I Timothy 3:16, the Scripture gives us a right view of Christ that produces godliness. What we believe affects our behavior for godliness is Christ in us. Doctrine is important in that it affects our character and conduct. We live what is in our heart. The Bible speaks of that doctrine which is according to godliness (I Timothy 4:7-9; 6:3-6). If our understanding of Christ is correct, our walk with Him will be correct also, Hebrews 12:28, “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”

 

 

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”

John 1:1-3

 

 

The purpose behind all doctrine is to secure moral actions.

Tozer

 

 

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”  Acts 16:31

 

 

Victory Baptist Church

Pastor Robert W. Reed

14473 Bellingrath Road

P.O. Box 257

Coden, Alabama 36523

(251) 873-4422