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We know that the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is the most significant event in all of human history.  We also know that the only way people are saved today is by putting their trust in Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross as payment for their own sin debt (Rom 3:19-28, Rom 4:4-5, Titus 3:5).

We’ve discovered that this explicit message was not preached to everyone, throughout the entire Bible, so naturally we’ve been asking: If all men are saved by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross why didn’t everyone get to hear it?

The answer we’re looking for lies in a literal interpretation of scripture.  In the simplest terms, what we’ve been looking at throughout this series (catch up here: part 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5) has been how God dispenses instruction to people specific to and for them.  All that He requires, in every instance, is that they have faith in what He says, and then do it!  This is considered a dispensation.

Today, we come to the dispensation of the Grace of God, that glorious preaching of the cross that we’ve been looking for. 

The Apostle Paul was given this dispensation (1 Cor 9:17, Eph 3:1-4) directly from the risen Lord Jesus Christ (Gal 1:11-12).  After he was saved on the road to Damascus, the Lord appeared through visions and revelations and continued to dispense the information needed to understand this new revelation (2 Cor 12:1).  He explained the hidden purpose of Christ’s cross and the result (1 Cor 2:7-8, Col 1:25-27) of the glorious eternal purpose that had been hid in God since before the world began.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. Eph 1:3-14

Paul calls this dispensation the revelation of the mystery (Rom 16:25) and declares that all men, without exception, can be saved, by faith alone in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, being forever sealed by the Holy Spirit (Eph 1:13, Eph 4:30, 1 Cor 12:13). 

If you put your faith in what God is saying today, that Jesus Christ bore your sins on the cross and raised you up to new life (1 Cor 15:1-4) then you are a new creature (2 Cor 5:17), with a heavenly purpose and part of the Body of Christ. 

This is something that could not have been known beforehand since it had not been prophesied but kept secret.  The Lord Jesus Christ ministered the truth of God’s word to Israel to confirm the promises made to the fathers (Rom 15:8) but until His death and subsequent resurrection, we had no means by which to understand the mystery revelation given to Paul.  This is why Paul can boldly say:

Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:” 2 Tim 2:7-8

The resurrection of Jesus Christ fulfilled the prophetic purpose for Israel and the mystery purpose for the new creature, the Body of Christ.

“God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Gal 6:14

Today we glory in the cross because it accomplished everything!

5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6 That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: 10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, 11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: 12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. Eph 3:5-12

My prayer is that we are found faithful stewards of His Word (2 Tim 2:15, 1 Cor 4:1-2) and continue to glory in the preaching of this marvelous grace through Christ’s cross.

Our search for the preaching of the glorious cross of Christ (Gal 6:14) for salvation to all people everywhere, for all time, has brought us to the Book of Acts.  Some theologians claim the “birth of the church” takes place in Acts 2.  If this is so, then we are sure to find what we’re looking for because we know that the way people are saved today is by faith alone in the finished work of Jesus Christ the LORD, (Eph 2:8-9, Rom 3:24-26, Rom 4:5, 1 Cor 15:1-4).

The purpose of this post is not to explain everything that is going on in Acts.  I’m simply going to point out what is being preached and see if it lines up with what we are looking for. If you want to continue with your own expository study and learn the truth, rightly divided, about the fall of Israel and the rise of Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles, I highly recommend this study.

Skim through Acts 2:5-11 to see who is participating in the Jewish feast of Pentecost. There were Jews from everywhere and an unknown number of proselytes.  These were Gentiles who converted to Judaism. What happens next is a fulfillment of prophesy. The Holy Spirit is poured out on ALL those who believe that Jesus is the Messiah.

No matter where you stand on the tongues issue, we should agree on this one thing; the Apostles are speaking the wonderful works of God, (Acts 2:11, Ps 40:5; 78:4; 111:4).  Don’t gloss over this important truth.  These men are filled with the third person of the God-head, the Holy Spirit, to reveal and make known God’s purpose for Israel.  They only get to speak the things God tells them to speak.  They didn’t study ahead of time for this meeting.  No one had notes or an outline to follow.  What do they know?  They know that Jesus was crucified and is now risen, proving their own scriptures that He IS LORD and Christ! 

Peter takes the mic to explain what’s going on in Acts 2:16-18.  He quotes Joel’s prophesy in Acts 2:19-20 and tells them, “this is that which was spoken of…”  If this is that which was spoken of, then it was known before hand…which means it wasn’t a mystery.  It wasn’t hid from them and was NOT a new revelation.  What Peter presented to those standing before him was substantiated by the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ, and all the prophecies that pointed to him being the Christ.

Peter continues his indictment against unbelieving Israel for killing the Messiah and gives testimony against them in an effort to get them to repent and believe.

Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made this same Jesus, whom ye have crucified,both Lord and Christ. Acts 2:36

When they heard this, they were pricked in their heart and ask, “What shall we do?” (Acts 2:37)

What did they hear?  “You killed the Christ!” Not exactly the gospel of the grace of God, is it?  

Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” (Acts 2:38-40)

Peter could not preach something that he did not know.  Being filled with the Holy Spirit, he could only preach what the Holy Spirit told him to preach.  Peter stays on point:

“…Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?  13 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.  14But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; 15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. 16 And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.  17 And now, brethren, I wot [know] that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.  18 But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. 19 “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; 20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: 21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” Acts 3:12-21

Peter connects Jesus’ name with the title of ‘Christ’ (Messiah) again, confirming the message of the prophets, John the Baptist, (Matt 3:1-3) and God the Father’s own testimony, (Matt 3:16-17).  He pleads with them again to repent.  Repenting does not mean to get down on your hands and knees and beg God’s forgiveness.  It means change your mind.  Peter wants them to change their mind about who Jesus is and after believing He is their Messiah, they need to be baptized.  Repentance and baptism were always a part of the Kingdom Gospel.

Peter does add something interesting here.  He says that their sins will be blotted out at a future time. He calls it a time of refreshing, when the Lord is present with them, Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”

Let this all sink in. 

Are you waiting for your sins to be blotted out after the restitution of all thing?

Didn’t Jesus Christ die for you while you were still his enemy? (Romans 5:6, 8,10)

Didn’t the Holy Spirit seal you until the day of your redemption after you heard and believed the gospel of your salvation? (Eph 3:13)

Aren’t you complete in him right now? (Col 2:10

Are you not the temple of the Holy Spirit? (1 Cor 3:16)

Don’t you possess all spiritual blessings in heavenly places today? (Eph 1:3

What part of the free gift of God’s salvation through faith in the finished work of Jesus’ cross on your behalf is left for you to do?

I hope you see the point I’m trying to make with this short study. Paul’s message was hid in God since before the world began. It could not be know until God made it know. He was given a special apostleship to the Gentiles, kings and children of Israel (Acts 9:15). His Gospel glories in the cross of Christ! Praise God for the cross of Jesus Christ and his sacrifice for all men, everywhere, throughout all time, made known by both prophecy fulfilled and mystery revealed!

For those that might be joining us late, we set out to find the glorious preaching of the finished work of Christ’s cross for the salvation of all men, everywhere, throughout all time. 

If this is true, and we believe it is, why isn’t everyone preaching it?  In our first study, through the Old Testament books, God never mentioned it to anyone.  We looked at John the baptist, and Jesus’ ministry to Israel for this glorious gospel, but found only information that the (prophesied) Kingdom was at hand.  We examined the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ instructions to his followers after His resurrection in part 3, and still did not find the preaching of the glorious cross for salvation, offered to all people, everywhere, throughout time.

Today, our study brings us to the Book of Acts, often called “The Book In-Between”.  It’s a bridge for understanding how Israel fell and how Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles, kings and the children of Israel (Acts 9:15) came to be.  Without the Book of Acts we would never understand how and why Israel fell, how the kingdom was put on hold but not forgotten (Rom 11:11, 15, 25) and how salvation would begin to be offered to all men by grace through faith.  But I’m getting ahead of myself. 

The Lord Jesus Christ just rose from the dead!  He showed himself and talked with followers for 40 days after his resurrection as infallible proof.  Luke begins his history lesson, documenting for Theophilus, all that Jesus did and taught concerning the kingdom, until he was taken up to heaven, (Acts 1:1-3).

Jesus offered no new information to his followers about the significance of the cross for Gentiles.  His instructions to the Apostles were to wait in Jerusalem for the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, (Acts 1:3-5). They were excited for what they knew was next, so they ask:

“… Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” Acts 1:6 

Remember, Jesus already spent ample time teaching them and making clear the scriptures concerning the coming kingdom, so this question makes perfect sense.  They know the kingdom starts in Jerusalem (Luke 24:47) with all Israel being saved by repenting, being baptized for the remission of sins, and believing in the name of Jesus Christ, as their Messiah.  They understand that it’s their job, now, after the city of Jerusalem is saved, that they go to Judea, then Samaria, and once all Israel is saved, to the uttermost parts of the world (Acts 1:8) with this kingdom message. They also know that there will be a time of trouble and great tribulation before the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord. (Matt 13:11-12 Matt 24, Daniel 9:24-27  Joel 2:28-32). Jesus didn’t hold any information back…or did He? 

Jesus replies: “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” Acts 1:7-8

Do you find that answer strange or even a little evasive?  Wouldn’t this have been the perfect opportunity to tell them: “Hey guys, start preaching the good news of salvation by grace through faith in my finished work on the cross (Eph 2:8-9)…especially to Gentiles…who have never been included in the covenant promises given to Israel!”? (Eph 2:11-12) Shouldn’t Jesus have told them that they were now complete in Him? (Col 2:10) That they were no longer under the law, but under grace!”? (Rom 3:24-26, 6:14, 10:4) It just seems like Jesus could have said so much more about the cross before He was taken up, but he didn’t.

Jesus kept with the program.  The prophecy program!  There was still work to be done in Israel before Jesus would come back as their King to rule and reign forever on earth.  The Apostles watched him disappear and then did what they were told. (Acts 1:9-12)

He left without telling them the secret, the mystery that had been hid in God since before the world began; (1 Cor 2:7-8, Eph 3:9, 6:19, Col 1:25-27), which explains, in great detail, what we set out to find in this short study…the preaching of Jesus Christ’s Glorious Cross for salvation to all men, for all time! (1 Cor 2:2, Gal 6:14)

The rest of Acts 1 explains why and how the Apostles cast lots for someone to replace Judas Iscariot.  (A good study and worth your time…!)  In our next post, we’ll look at what happened at Pentecost. Maybe we’ll finally find the Apostles preaching the message of salvation by faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross. I hope you stay with me! There’s a lot more to explore!

If Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection offers forgiveness and justification to all men, at all times, through faith alone, why is this information not preached to everyone throughout scripture? We’ve been traveling through the pages of the Word of God, trying to find what Paul calls, “the preaching of the cross,” (1 Cor 1:18). If you’re just joining us, you can find part 1 here, and part 2 here.

Today we arrive at the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I’m excited to hear what He tells his disciples! Will His message change now that his death and resurrection have been realized by those he ministered to? Will they understand what his death accomplished for all men throughout all time? Does He reveal new information, new revelation, or a secret that has been hid in God since before the world began?

Matt 27:50, Mark 15:37, Luke 23:46, John 19:30 are the verses that tell us Jesus died.  Noticed, they are at the end of each Gospel account.  After Jesus rises from the dead, and there is still much doubt among his disciples, (Matt 28:17, Mark 16:11-14, Luke 24:15-17, Luke 24:25, John 20:8-9), He sets out to give them his final instructions.   

Matt 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

In Matthew’s account we find what mainstream Christianity calls ‘The Great Commission.’  Jesus tells his Apostles to “GO…teach all nations, All that I have commanded you,”

While Jesus walked this earth, He taught the law and commanded others to follow it, as well! (Matt 5:18, 7:12, 22:37-40) The only thing that changes in Christ’s risen instructions is the fact that they should now go to ALL the nations of the world, not just to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, (Matt 10:6). But, did they do this? 

Mark 16:15-18 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Mark’s account of Jesus’ instructions adds signs!  Why signs?  Because Jews require a sign, (1 Cor 1:22).  Signs were used by God to prove His messages.  Without signs, Israel could not be sure it was from their own God, (John 4:48, 10:37-38, 14:11).  Tongues were a sign and fulfillment of prophecy that happen at Pentecost.  Being healed from a serpent’s bite and poisonous drink will be useful to the nation of Israel during the Tribulation period.

Luke 24 is an interesting chapter with lots of detail. I urge you to read the entire chapter for yourself and notice the words that describe how the disciples felt.

And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. Luke 24:27

All of the sudden, Jesus appears, incognito and schools two of his followers as they walked on the road to Emmaus.  He explains what even the prophets didn’t know or understand when they wrote, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, those things concerning the Christ, (1 Peter 1:9-11, Heb 9:28). Later he appears to those that were gathered together, enlightens them, and gives them these instructions:

46… Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And ye are witnesses of these things. 49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. Luke 24:46-49

Notice what Jesus DOESN’T say. There’s no talk of a new body made up of Jews and Gentiles (2 Cor 5:17), or salvation by faith through grace, (Eph 2:8-9). Jesus doesn’t say a thing about a mystery or secret that has been hid in God since the creation of the world, (Rom 16:25, Col 1:25-27, 1 Cor 2:7-8, Eph 3:3-4).  Why not?  This would have been the perfect opportunity, don’t you think?

John’s Gospel adds one more piece of the Kingdom Gospel puzzle.

John 20:21-23 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

The Apostles were given the Holy Ghost for the purpose of forgiving or retaining sins.  That’s something new!  Who can forgive sins but God?  And yet, Jesus breathes on them and they are now equipped with the ability to judge another man’s heart!  We see the only incident of this in Acts 5:1-11 when Ananias, with Sapphira lie to the Holy Ghost and through Peter’s God-given-Spirit power to discern the lie, they are killed on the spot. 

Thankfully, that doesn’t happen today or we’d all be dead!

We’ve come to the end of the four Gospels and we still have not found anyone preaching salvation by grace through faith in the cross of Christ. Next time, we’ll continue in the Book of Acts to see if and when God changes his instructions.

Thanks for following!  If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to shoot me an email.

Today, we continue our search for the glorious preaching of the cross to see if we can find anyone who agrees with Paul’s message in Gal 6:14

“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”

The Bible says that Jesus Christ was born under the law, (Gal 4:4) to redeem those that were under the law, (Gal 4:5).

When Jesus started his ministry, the world that he created (including Gentiles) didn’t know him, and his own people, Israel, didn’t receive him, (John 1:10-11).  That didn’t stop Jesus from doing what the Father sent him to do, (John 4:34, 5:30, 6:38).

Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. Mark 1:14-15

‘Repent’ and ‘believe’ in what?  Don’t read into the passage what isn’t there! Jesus is preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom! The time is fulfilled! This long awaited kingdom is at hand! Jesus is the Messiah and King, the one they’d been waiting for! Why didn’t he cry out to all those that would hear at the very beginning of his ministry and for the next three years while He walked the earth, “I was sent from God to DIE on a bloody cross for your sins and for the sins of the world”?  

Jesus had an opportunity to talk about this with a Samaritan woman. What did He tell her? Salvation is of the Jews! (John 4:22).  By the end of their conversation, she believed that he was the Christ, (Messiah), the Savior of the world, without mentioning his cross.  After she tells her friends, many come to Jesus, hear his words for themselves and believe that he is who he says he is…the Christ, even the Savior of the world! They believed in what he was saying, but it was NOT salvation through faith in the sacrifice of His cross!

John 4:39,41-42 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. 41 And many more believed because of his own word; 42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.

Jesus adamantly taught about fulfilling the law (Matt 5:17-19) and the prophets, keeping the commandments and seeking the Kingdom, (Matt 6:33).

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. Matt 4:23

He taught them to pray: Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven, (Matt 6:10), and to make the mandatory offerings under the law after they were healed, (Mark 1:44, Matt 8:4).

He chided the Scribes and Pharisees for NOT keeping the whole law.  He warned his followers to be careful of those that sat in Moses’ seat (they, of all people, should know better!).  All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: (Matt 23:2-3)

When asked the specific question on securing eternal life (Matt 19:17-22) Jesus responded this way:but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

If ever there was a time to let the multitudes know that the cross was what they should glory in, cling to, and trust for their eternal salvation, wouldn’t it have been during this conversation?  I mean, we’re talking eternal life, here!  This was a direct question. But Jesus kept quiet about that glorious cross.

We know Jesus had twelve Apostles (which means sent one), who were given a great commission.  Maybe He left this message with them. Maybe we’ll find what we’re looking for through their ministry.

Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.  2 And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick… 6 And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where. Luke 9:1-6

Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matt 10:5-7

Why wouldn’t Jesus tell His disciples to go everywhere to everyone?  And why was Jesus being so exclusive? And even so, notice, the message hasn’t changed. Where is the preaching of the cross?

Jesus finally puts it out as plainly as he can and tells his inner circle what’s going to happen as it pertains to the cross. Peter boldly stands against it and the Lord rebukes him and calls him Satan! (Matt 16:21-23) If Jesus was explaining how his death on the cross would be for the purpose of redemption for everyone, who would be against that? Jesus kept some important information to himself for good reason, (1 Cor 2:7-8).

Jesus brought it up again in the next chapter;  ‘The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: 23 And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.’ (Matt 17:22-23)

A parallel verse is found in Mark 9:31-32 For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day. 32 But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him.

So why are the Apostles exceeding sorry this is going to happen and even afraid to ask for more details? Why aren’t they excited and glorying in this new revelation?

In Luke 9:44-45 and John 8:26-28 we find two more incidents where the apostles didn’t understand what Jesus was talking about when he referenced his death and resurrection.

I know I sound sarcastic, and I do apologize for that.  I’m trying to get the reader, the student, to understand the difference in the dispensational context.  I’m praying that, even with my limited knowledge and lack of writing skills, you will see that, though these verses seem to contradict what Paul is saying, they line up perfectly in the dispensation for which they were intended and they are not at all contradictory.

There was a secret that Jesus was keeping.  It was a mystery that had not yet been revealed.

That’s why we study!  Stay with me and together we’ll search for clarity on this subject.

Next up, what happened after Jesus rises from the dead? What message does He give His Apostles? What can we learn?

Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection offers forgiveness and justification to all men, at all times, through faith alone.  

This is a true statement, and yet, how is it that the preaching of the cross is missing in 90% of the Bible?  The answer is all in the dispensation!

How could Adam and Eve have a good standing with God if no one preached the cross to them?

They were in good standing based on what they didn’t do! They were told NOT to eat of a certain tree.

Gen 2:16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou may freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eat thereof thou shalt surely die.

After they sinned, that good standing was broken with God.  It was what THEY DID, not what they believed.

How about Noah?  Was Noah trusting the cross for his salvation?

Gen 6:8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. (That sounds familiar…is it close to what Paul teaches us today?)

Gen 6:13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 

Gen 7:1 And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.

Noah trusted what God told him to do in order for him to be saved from the destruction that was to come upon the earth. (Heb 11:7)   God saved him from utter destruction without the preaching of the cross. How could that be?

After the flood, things didn’t get better…they got worse.

Gen 11:4-9 Because the people of the earth are not following God’s instructions, He judges them and confounds their language so that they no longer speak as one.  Out of all the people on the earth, God takes one man and calls him out from among the Gentiles (Gentiles means nations). God makes him the father of the only nation He would ever create – Israel.  

(Gen 12:1-4) God show Abram a lot of unmerited favor (that’s another way of saying grace!) God promised Abram a dominion on the earth, that He would make him a great nation, his name would be great, he would be blessed and be a blessing to all the people of the earth. Abram believed this. PERIOD.

Gen 15:6 And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

Abraham was found to be righteous because he believed in what God told him, but there was no preaching of a cross for which Abraham could cling to and believe in for his salvation.

The chosen descendants of Abraham (remember he had many children, but the promise came through Isaac) made up the nation of Israel.  At this point, God dealt with mankind through Israel. Those that wanted to be blessed came through Israel, those who rejected God’s plan, were cursed.

In Ex. 19:5-6 Moses was given the law to give to the people of Israel.  This is the start of what we now know as the Old Covenant or Old Testament, an if/then contract.  Israel actually agreed to DO all that was written in the law.

Deut 6:24 And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day. 25 And it shall be our righteousness if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.

Israel gained righteousness with God by doing everything that was commanded of them in the law.  There were provisions in the law for when they failed. David followed the law, loved the law, and trusted God to save him by the law.  Ps 18:20-24, Ps 25:10, Ps 119 BUT, The law was impossible to keep! Jer. 31:31-37 , Ezek 36:24-28 God gave the law so that Israel could recognize their inability to keep it, (Rom 3:20).

God promised a NEW COVENANT, whereby He was going to cause them to keep this law perfectly, by his indwelling  Holy Spirit.  This is still a future promise and unfulfilled prophecy.   Israel will have to go through the Tribulation, (their baptism by fire as foretold in Matt 3:11 and endure to the end through the trials of their faith (James 1:2-3) in order to receive their Messiah and become the nation of Priests (Hebrews talks of this as well as the Prophets) that the other nations of the world will be coming through in order to get their blessings from King Jesus when he sits on his throne in the New Jerusalem.

God does not take pleasure in the wicked dying (Ez 18:23).  He would much rather they believe and trust in him, but God will justify his holiness one day by destroying his enemies: Nahum 1:2, Joel 2:28

After the last prophet speaks (Malachi) there are 400 years of silence from God. At the right time, John the Baptist is born for a purpose and a specific message, what is it? He came to prepare the way for the king!

Matt 3:2 REPENT for the KINGDOM of HEAVEN is at HAND!

But look closely; John’s message is the same as all the prophets before him who have prophesied of this coming kingdom.  The only glorious difference is he puts a name to the promise. He baptizes and points out who the King and Messiah is in order that his fellow kinsman might follow and believe in this name. You guessed it! Jesus!

We must make the distinction, however, that just because Jesus appears on earth and in fact, does have a ministry to Israel, we do not find him preaching about his cross to the multitudes.

According to Heb 9:16 before the NEW TESTAMENT can start the testator must die.  Jesus, being that testator, doesn’t die until the end of the 4 Gospel accounts. That should give you a clue as to when that page entitled, “New Testament,” in your Bible should appear. Without the cross, without Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, there is nothing that we can glory in, (Gal 6:14).

HIS sacrifice is going to save the whole world.  He knows this; He’s God! Why does He keep it a secret? This is not a theological question, it’s a dispensational question. God has a plan. He made it known. We have to study in order to understand it.

We’ll look at Jesus’ ministry and what He taught his Disciples while on earth in the next study.  Maybe we’ll find someone (other than Paul) preaching the glories of the cross of Jesus Christ.

Mystery of Christ

We’ve been studying the mysteries that Colossians 2:2 refers to and today we’ve come to the mystery of Christ (Eph 3:4, Col 4:3) also called the mystery among the Gentiles”, (Col 1:27) the “dispensation of the grace of God”, (Eph 3:2) and the “revelation of the mystery” (Rom 16:25).

If you’re just joining us, the mystery of God is here, and the mystery of the Father is here.

You can only find the mystery of Christ in Paul’s epistles.  God kept it a secret since before the world began (Rom 16:25, 1 Cor 2:7-8, Eph 3:1-3, Col 1:26) which is opposite of  “that which was spoken of since the world began”, (Acts 3:21), in other words, prophecy.

This information was progressively revealed and given to Paul to “fulfill the word of God” (Col 1:25). We can’t just pluck out one verse and say “There it is!”  because Paul’s entire ministry is built upon this doctrine.  It was a mystery that God would use the rejection, and the death, burial and resurrection of the Messiah, to offer salvation freely by his grace, without Israel, without the covenants and without the law, to all who would simple believe in the finished work of Jesus Christ our LORD,  (1 Cor 15:1-4).

This is why it’s worth our time to study all scripture, (2 Cor 3:6, 2 Tim 3:16), in order to be an able minister of the new testament.

Ephesians 3:1-10 is, in my opinion, the clearest description of how, and why the mystery of Christ was revealed.

That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Eph 3:6

The Mystery of Christ encompasses but is not limited to:

Salvation by grace through faith in the finished work of Christ, Rom 1:16, 1 Cor 2:2-5, 1 Cor 1:18, Rom 3:25,

Not by works, nor law keeping ~  Rom 3:20-21,  Eph 2:8-9

Created a new creature called the Body of Christ ~ 2 Cor 5:17, Rom 12:5; Eph 4:4

Believers walk by faith in what Christ did for them ~ Titus 3:5-6, 2 Cor 5:7

Christ is the head of this body, you are members, Eph 1:22, 4:15, Col 1:18

Created for a heavenly purpose ~ Eph 2:6, Titus 3:7, Col 3:1-4

You are complete in Him ~ Col 2:10

You have all spiritual blessings now. ~ Eph 1:3

“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory”Col 1:27

This is a lot of information in a very short lesson.  The links to all the verses are there so that  you can study this doctrine out for yourselves.  If you’re confused, have questions or need more information, please don’t hesitate to ask!  If I don’t know the answer, we’ll find it together in God’s word.  Grace and Peace!

Clues: She lived a long life.

             She was such a good person. 

             She was loved by so many people.

             She always had a smile on her face. 

             She never said anything bad about another person.

             She loved Jesus.

Answer: Things people say about Christians after they die.

No, we’re not playing $10,000 Pyramid.  All of these statements are true of someone who is now breathing the air of heaven.  But NONE of these things got her there…not even the last one!

The fact that she loved Jesus was the result of putting her trust in the sacrifice He offered her by dying for her and rising to new life.  She believed the only gospel that could save her, (1 Cor 15:1-4).  That’s why she loved Him.  That’s why all of the other statements were true of her, as well.  It was not by works of her own righteousness, but according to Christ’s mercy he saved her, (Titus 3:5).  According to His righteousness she is victorious and even more alive than she was the day before. (1 Cor 15:57)

To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, (2 Cor 5:8).  As believers, we know this is true, and yet, our hearts break, there is pain and the weight of our loss is heavy. 

On the other hand, Cathy cannot gain any more than what she has right now! (Phil 1:21)  She gets to explore the unsearchable riches of Christ (Eph 3:8) for all eternity!  She has obtained all spiritual blessings (Eph 1:3) found in Christ that were true of her as a member of the Body of Christ here on earth, but now… NOW…her faith has become her sight.  It’s not possible for us to even imagine the glory that has enveloped her.  

Someday it will be your turn…my turn…then we’ll know too.

But, in the meantime, as believers in the shed blood of Jesus Christ for our own sins, may we continue to share the Glorious Gospel of our Salvation with those who don’t yet know…

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Rom 8:18)

But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: (2 Tim 1:10)

Enjoy your reward, Cathy!  Christ in you, the hope of Glory!

“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” ~ 1 John 5:7

This verse makes it clear that there is One God made up of three distinct persons.  Every attribute that describes God throughout the entire Bible can be ascribed to each person of the Trinity, either directly or indirectly, because God cannot change, and they, being equal, are one.

In the preceding post, we looked at the mystery of God referenced in Colossians 2:2. Today, let’s look at the mystery of the Father by looking at Ephesians 1:3-10 with special attention on verses 9 & 10.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he has made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he has abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he has purposed in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

According to these verses, the mystery of the Father lies completely IN CHRIST.  All spiritual blessings are in Christ.  We were chosen in Christ, blameless in Christ, acceptable in Christ, redeemed by His blood. Everything is in Christ! 

The phrases “in Christ,” “through Christ,” “in Him,” “through Him,” and “through Jesus Christ,” appear over 120 times in Paul’s epistles.  This was crucial information and Paul was determined to make it known because, up until this time, God had kept that information a secret. (1 Cor 2:7-8)

Jesus said: “Search the scriptures for they speak of me,” (John 5:39) yet, no one could find this particular information written in the law or the prophets because God had not yet made it known.  We can only know what God wants us to know when He wants us to know it.  Verse 9 says God made this mystery known.  Verse 10 qualifies that mystery: that in the fulness of times, (mystery of God) the Father will bring all things together in Christ.

“…to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” ~ 2 Cor 4:6

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ~ Phil. 2:9-11

To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believes in Jesus. ~ Romans 3:26

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet perhaps for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. ~ Romans 5:6-11

Are you in Christ? If not, do you know how to get in Christ?  It’s by believing you are a sinner and that Christ’s finished work on the cross pays your sin debt and justifies you before Almighty God.  It’s God’s will for all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of this truth! (1 Tim 2:4) I’m praying for you!

Mysteries of God

Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.” 1 Cor 4:1 

Hmm…did you know that you and I, being in Christ, (by that, I mean, you believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ as payment for your sins) are stewards of the mysteries of God.  Let’s be good stewards and learn what we should know so we can share it!

  
“that their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; 3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Col 2:2-3

Paul is praying that the Body of Christ would be comforted because of the full assurance of understanding a few mysteries.  He listed three here: the mystery of God, the mystery of the Father, and the mystery of Christ.  

We know that a mystery cannot be known until it is revealed. (Deut 29:29)  Paul said these mysteries are hidden in Christ, so we must be able to find them since Christ’s full purpose has been revealed in his sacrifice on the cross, and his glorious resurrection, verified and written in his word.  It takes work (2 Tim 2:15) to study scripture in order to be a good steward, so let’s go digging!

If you are new to using an online Bible concordance such as biblegateway.com you can key in any word or phrase in the search engine and within seconds you have every instance where that word or phrase is used.  

For this study, I’ve keyed in “mystery” (22 occurrences) and mysteries (5 occurrences).  Click the links to read any or all of the verses. 

Today, we’ll look at just the verse that pertains to the mystery of God found in Revelation 10:7.  The verse doesn’t say what that mystery of God is, however, when you back up to verse 5 we get the explanation.  

 5 And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, 6 And sware by him that liveth forever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.

Evidently, the mystery of God that is revealed in Revelation is that time will no longer tick.  At some point in the future, the things that are in the heaven and the earth and the sea…all things created, will no longer exist in a finite timetable as we know it.  What God had purposed when he created all that is seen and unseen, when he set things in motion, when he started the ticking of time, he also decided the clock would one day stop.  He’s the only one that knows when this will happen, but…he has revealed that when this angel is given the Go-Ahead, time will be swallowed up by eternity.  This is the mystery of God revealed in Col. 2:2

That might not seem like much of a mystery, but a lot is said about time in the secular world.  God says Time, as we know it, will end someday.  

Psalm 90:12  So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.  

We will explore the mystery of the Father in the next post.