1Timothy 3:14-16, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.”
Having discussed the pillar and ground of the truth in Part 1, Paul further presses upon Timothy to be constant in regard to the greatest diligence, faithfulness, and zeal in handling God’s word. Teaching among other things 6 pillars of the truth that must remain pure and be preached. 1.God was manifested in the flesh, 2. Justified in the Spirit, 3.Seen by angels, 4. Preached among the Gentiles, 5.Believed on in the world, 6. Received up in glory. These truths are greatly under attack even in the Christian cycles today where some men who call themselves pastors deviate from teaching these truths hence heresy rises up. Let’s look at these pillars.
1.God was manifested in the flesh: First, the virgin birth must not be taken lightly. If Joseph had anything to do with the pregnancy, then Christ, as we are born in Adam would have been born sinful, (Romans 5:12). Our redemption needed a perfect sacrifice. Second, the deity of Christ, God/Man has also come into great attacks. There are those who preach that Christ did not come as God but was Man who grew up into perfection. God was pleased to manifest Himself to man, by His own Son taking the nature of man. The bible called Him the suffering Servant, a King without a kingdom. He came in the likeness of man as the last Adam not second, (1Corinthians 15:45). Sound doctrine of Christ leads to salvation.
2. Justified in the Spirit: Christ was conceived and publically declared to be the Son of God by the Spirit (Matthew 3:17, Matthew 12:18, Matthew 17:5). He was led by the Spirit, example led of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted (Luke 4, Mark 1, Matthew 4). He was anointed by the Holy Spirit to accomplish His work (Luke 4:18). Though reproached as a sinner, and put to death as a malefactor, Christ was raised again by the Spirit, and so was justified from all the false charges with which He was loaded. He laid aside His majesty and totally depended on the ministry of the Holy Spirit for conception, identification, leading, anointing and resurrection.
3. Seen by angels: Angels from above testified of His deity and ministered to Him knowing their role. Hebrews 2:9, reads, “9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.” In His weak moments in the flesh as the Son of Man, the angels came and ministered to Him right after being tempted of Satan and when He was about to be taken to be crucified. To add, He was seen by angels who confirmed to the women at the grave that He was risen as He testified. Without the resurrection, we have no gospel at all. 1Corinthians 15:14, “And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty”
4. Preached among the Gentiles: Christ crucified was preached to the Gentiles. “The worst of men, and that by the express orders of Christ himself; and which was foretold in the prophecies of the Old Testament, and yet was a mystery, hid from ages and generations past”, John Gill. What a wonderful knowledge that the Gentiles are part of God’s plan for redemption. That the gospel of Christ was not for the Jews only.(Romans 11:11-36)
5. Believed on in the world. “Started among the Jews, and in the nations of the world, so that He was preached with success; and faith in Christ is the end of preaching; though this is not of a man’s self, but is the gift of God, and the operation of His power: and it was a marvelous thing, considering the reproach and ignominy Christ lay under, through the scandal of the cross, that He should be believed on as he was. This can be ascribed to nothing else but to the power of God, which went along with the ministry of the word”, John Gill. He is the hope for everyman.
6. Received up into glory; He was raised from the dead, and had a glory put upon His risen body; He ascended in a glorious manner to heaven, in a cloud, and in chariots of angels, and was received there with a welcome by His Father; and is seated at His right hand, and crowned with glory and honour, and glorified with the glory He had with Him before the world was. Hebrews 10:12, “But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God”. He was given a name that is above every name, the Father promising that every knee shall bow to His Son and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, Philippians 2:11.
Notice that Six elements/pillars enter into this mystery of godliness, elements all of which were fully revealed in the gospel and they all point to none other than Jesus. He is the pillar and the ground for truth, the one we must preach. Hebrews 1:1-4, “1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they”.
The mystery is not something incomprehensible, but the hidden wisdom of God revealed in the gospel; a sense similar to that in which mystery is always used in the Scriptures. Christ, in all His aspects, is Himself “the mystery of godliness.” Blessings Ev