To some it may be a new thought that creation and redemption are the same power; to all it is and must ever be a mystery. The Gospel itself is a mystery. The Apostle Paul desired the prayers of the brethren, that utterance might be given him, “to make known the mystery of the Gospel” (Eph. 6:19). Elsewhere he says that he was made a minister of the Gospel, according to the gift of the grace of God, given unto him by the effectual working of His power, that he “should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all 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” (Eph. 3:8, 9). We see the mystery of the Gospel to be the mystery of creation.
This mystery was made known to the apostle by revelation. How the revelation was made known to him we learn in his Epistle to the Galatians, where he says, “But I certify you, brethren, that the Gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” And then he makes the matter still more definite, by saying, “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen, immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood” (Gal. 1:11, 12, 15, 16).
Let us sum up the last few points:
1. The Gospel is a mystery.
2. It is a mystery that is made known by revelation of Jesus Christ.
3. It was not merely that Jesus Christ revealed it to him, but that he was made to know the mystery by the revelation of Jesus Christ in him. Paul had to know the Gospel first, before he could preach it to others; and the only way in which he could be made to know it was to have Christ revealed in him.
4. The conclusion therefore is that the Gospel is the revelation of Jesus Christ in men.
This conclusion is plainly stated by the apostle in another place, where he says that he was made a minister “according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God; even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints; 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. 1:25-27).
So we are fully assured that the Gospel is the making known of Christ in men. Or rather, the Gospel is Christ in men, and the preaching of it is the making known to men of the possibility of Christ’s dwelling in them. And this agrees with the statement of the angel, that they should call the name of Jesus Emmanuel, “which, being interpreted, is God with us” (Matt. 1:23); and also with the statement by the apostle that the mystery of God is God manifest in the flesh. When the angels made known to the shepherds the birth of Jesus, it was the announcement that God had come to man in the flesh; and when it was said that this good news should be to all people, it was revealed that the mystery of God dwelling in human flesh was to be declared to all men, and repeated in all who should believe Him.
And now let us briefly sum up all that we have thus far learned:
1. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Salvation is only by the power of God, and wherever the power of God is, there is salvation.
2. Christ is the power of God.
3. But Christ’s salvation comes through the cross; therefore the cross of Christ is the power of God.
4. So the preaching of Christ and Him crucified is the preaching of the Gospel.
5. The power of God is the power that creates all things. Therefore the preaching of Christ and Him crucified, as the power of God, is the preaching of the creative power of God put forth for the salvation of men.
6. This is so, because Christ is the Creator of all things.
7. Not only so, but in Him all things were created. He is the first-born of all creation; when He was begotten, “in the days of eternity,” all things were virtually created, because all creation is in Him. The substance of all creation, and the power by which all things should be made to appear, were in Christ. This is simply a statement of the mystery that only the mind of God can comprehend.
8. The mystery of the Gospel is God manifest in human flesh. Christ on earth is “God with us.” So Christ dwelling in the hearts of men by faith is all the fullness of God in them.
9. And this means nothing less than the creative energy in God working in men through Jesus Christ, for their salvation. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” (2 Cor. 5:17). “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (Eph. 2:10).
All this is indicated by the apostle when he says that to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ is to make all 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.” *
*(Continued with the next posting of: "Ephesians 1:3-20 | More Details of The Mystery").