1 Timothy 3:16
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels…
I. THAT THE SCHEME OF GODLINESS IS GREATLY MYSTERIOUS WITH REGARD TO ITS CONTRIVANCE. Thus, how the case of man's fall was to be met, and how his salvation was to be wrought out in perfect harmony with all the Divine attributes, remained a profound secret, until God Himself was pleased to announce it to the world. Even angelic intelligence was inadequate to its contrivance.
II. THAT THE SCHEME OF GODLINESS IS GREATLY MYSTERIOUS WITH REGARD TO ITS MODE OF DEVELOPMENT. That, in fact, its main and most important truths should have been so long concealed from the world, or only he darkly shadowed forth by types and figures; that their revelation should have been so gradual, and so late in reaching its consummation may well be reckoned a mystery. Why did He suffer so many millions of the race for whose benefit it was designed, and for whose salvation a knowledge of it seems necessary, to die without even having heard of it?
III. THAT THE SCHEME OF GODLINESS IS GREATLY MYSTERIOUS WITH REGARD TO THE NATURE AND MODE OF ITS OPERATIONS. We gather from the words of our Lord, that the operations by which the Holy Spirit regenerates men through the system of evangelical truth would be inscrutable. "The wind bloweth where it listeth," etc. How, for instance, does this system of truth illuminate the mind, convey conviction to the judgment, awaken and alarm the conscience, gain the assent of the understanding, fill the sinner with penitence and godly sorrow, win his affections, subdue his whole soul to God, and transform him, a guilty and polluted spirit, into a new creature in Christ Jesus? What is the nature of those unseen, impalpable operations by which man is enlightened, pardoned, and born again? How is celestial light produced in the sin-darkened mind?
IV. THAT THE SCHEME OF GODLINESS IS GREATLY MYSTERIOUS WITH REGARD TO ITS TRIUMPHS. The external means and agency by which these triumphs are secured may be plain and obvious enough as facts; but then they seem altogether inadequate to achieve them.
V. THAT THE SCHEME OF GODLINESS IS GREATLY MYSTERIOUS WITH REGARD TO ITS CONSUMMATION. Its character is thus uniform from the beginning to the end. This grand drama of truth and mercy was opened by the most mysterious resolutions and stupendous acts; it is sustained and carried on by the sublimest evolutions and agency; and it will close amid the most transcendent and ineffable scenes of grandeur and bliss. All the dead are to be raised. Men and devils are all to be arraigned before the judgment-seat of Christ. The old heavens and earth are to pass away. A new heaven and earth of surpassing beauty and holiness are to be created for the reception of the redeemed.
1. This subject teaches us the necessity of implicit faith in all the truths and doctrines which God has revealed in His Word. This, indeed, we shall often find to be necessary. Mysterious facts which baffle our reason, demand our faith. In His darkest utterances, God must be implicitly credited.
2. This subject teaches us the necessity of cherishing the spirit of patience and humility. This, too, we shall find to be all-important. We cannot anticipate the end, nor rush to its disclosures before the time appointed by the Father.
3. This subject teaches us that we ought most gratefully to receive the unspeakable and eternal benefits which this grand and mysterious scheme of godliness was designed to confer on redeemed men. To refuse them, or even to be unconcerned about them, is surely the blackest and most hateful ingratitude, and must form the very climax of rebellion and guilt!
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.
WEB: Without controversy, the mystery of godliness is great: God was revealed in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, and received up in glory.