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Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Stewardship of the Mystery

The Purpose of the Ages

"...no one knoweth the Son, save the Father ..." (Matthew 11:27)

"... it was the good pleasure of God ... to reveal His Son in me ..." (Galatians 1:15, 16)

"... I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord ..." (Phil. 3:8)

" ... that I may know Him ..." (Phil. 3:10)

"Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Him unto a dispensation of the fullness of the times, to sum up all things in Christ ..." (Ephesians 1:9, 10).

That little clause in verse ten is the word which will govern our meditation - ALL THINGS IN CHRIST.

These scriptures speak for themselves. As we listen to the inner voice of the Spirit in these fragments of the Divine Word, surely we shall begin to feel a sense of tremendous meaning, value and content. We should feel like people who have come to the doors of a new realm full of wonders - unknown, unexplored, unexploited.

The Necessity for Revelation

We are met at the very threshold of that realm with a statement which is calculated to check our steps for the moment, and if we approach with a sense of knowing or possessing anything already, with a sense of contentment, of personal satisfaction, or with any sense other than that of needing to know everything, then this word should bring us to a standstill at once: " ... no one knoweth the Son, save the Father ..." Maybe we thought we knew something about the Lord Jesus, and that we had ability to know; that study, and listening, and various other forms of our own application and activity could bring us to a knowledge. but the outset we are told that " ... no one knoweth the Son, save the Father ..." All that the Son is, is locked up with the Father, and He alone knows.

When, therefore, we have faced that fact, and have recognized its implications, we shall see that here is a land which is locked up, into which we cannot enter, and for which we have no equipment. There is nothing in us of faculty to enter into the secrets of that realm of Christ. Then following the discovery of that somewhat startling fact of man's utter incapacity to know by nature, the next fact that confronts us is this: "... it was the good pleasure of God ... to reveal His Son in me ..." While God has all that locked up in Himself, in His own possession, and He alone has the knowledge of the Son, it is in His heart, nevertheless, to give revelation. And, given the truth that we are so utterly dependent upon revelation from God, and that all human faculty and facility is ruled out in this respect, since such revelation can only be known by a Divine revealing after an inward kind, we are making it to be very evident that everything is of grace when we renounce all trust in works, when we turn away from self-sufficiency, self-reliance, from all confidence in the flesh, and any pride of advance and approach.

Read these two passages in the light of what Paul was when known as Saul of Tarsus, as Paul the Apostle, and you will gain something more of their force. Saul of Tarsus would have called himself a master in Israel, one well learned in the Scriptures, with a certain strength of self-assurance, self-confidence, and self-sufficiency in his apprehension and knowledge of the oracles of God. Even such a one as he will have to come to the recognition that none of that is of avail in the realm of Christ; where he realizes that he is utterly blind, utterly ignorant, utterly helpless, altogether ruled out, and needing the grace of God for the very first glimmer of light; to come down very low, and say: "... it was the good pleasure of God ... to reveal His Son in me ..." That is grace!

That marked the beginning; and for this present meditation we are considering the unexplored fullness of what God has Himself placed within His Son, the Lord Jesus, actually and in purpose, as being the object of His grace toward us. His grace has led Him to seek to bring us by revelation into all that knowledge which He Himself possesses as His own secret knowledge of His fullness in His Son, the Lord Jesus. ALL THINGS IN CHRIST.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 2 - (Paul's Revelation of Christ) 

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