“To make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God.” (Ephesians 3)
In the church, we’re beginning our liturgical season of Epiphany. This is when we absorb the impact of the fact that Our Lord, the Almighty Word, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity leaped down from heaven out of the royal throne to enter our world and live our life … and die our death.
We know this as historical truth reported to us by reliable witnesses in the Gospel accounts. Often this can become to us no different from reading any written or oral history. We can’t help regarding them as interesting narratives describing someone else’s personal experience … and only as that. To an honest truth-seeking person, the story is appealing or repelling, but doesn’t settle in our “modern” minds as scientifically proven truth. And yet, if this narrative account is the foundational ultimate truth of this life and any hereafter, we need to regard it as extraordinarily important … and be able to believe it down into the depths of our being.
What we need is an “Epiphany” that reveals to us the deeper truth. We need eyes that can see and perceive what’s revealed to us by light from another dimension … the spiritual dimension of Holy light. We need the lights switched on … to drive the darkness away.
Neither the Hebrews or pagans of the first century were ready or particularly willing to accept a salvation visit from Almighty God. And today the peoples and tribes of the world are no different in their reluctance to accept the ultimate Lordship of Jesus Christ. The very idea that God would choose to “incarnate,” take on human flesh beginning at the very start of a human life, is incredulous to our unenlightened minds. He joined with the nature of a newborn baby boy named Jesus. Thus began the assumption by the Creative Word, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, of all the consequences of flesh and blood human life … in all its frailty and obligations to tribe and custom … and vulnerability to human suffering and pain.
So immediately, the first century and our 21st-century minds are challenged to believe the fantastic incredible truth of God Himself coming to be with us … and live a life and a death in all of its vulnerability with us. This is unbelievable to the atheist and agnostic. “What person in their right mind could believe such a thing?” And if true, why would Almighty God ever consent to such degradation and suffering? Why doesn’t God just fix the mess we’re in, stop all the chaos, and even start all over again with creatures who don’t mess up with each other and the gift of our planet? Why would He want to join us in this mess?
The answer is His Fatherly love and overwhelming compassion for us in our human dilemma. We have turned away from Him and accumulated countless generations of the consequences of our rebellion against Him and His established pattern for grace filled lives. The trouble we have caused permeates all existence, material and spiritual. God is totally righteous; and we deserve His total judgement. Yet He does not vary from His ultimate purpose … which was and is to create man and woman to fellowship with Him and each other forever. This is a bond of love which He will never forsake.
So how do we billions of prodigals return to the grace of our Father who created us? The answer is the sacrificial love on a scale only God Himself can provide in a mercy that cancels our debt, our deserved consequences. God is not a bad manager of His creation. He is our loving heavenly Father who offers restoration to us … if we acknowledge that He is our Father and follow the path back home that He has provided for us through His Son Jesus Christ.
In that life, He lived without sin in a broken and sin filled world, He taught us that the deepest and most true connection we have to anything is the relationship we have with our Heavenly Father, Almighty God. He taught us that we are adopted children of our “Abba,” our Father … who is the creator of all the worlds. Everything Jesus Christ knew and knows with His Father, He tells us we can have as well through our bond with Him within our creaturely limitations. Creatures we are, but just below the angels.
The “fellowship of the mystery” is the union of the Holy Trinity into which we have been invited as fully pardoned adopted children. What was “hid in God” until the coming of Jesus Christ is Almighty God’s ultimate plan that we should be restored to all the beauty and promise of Eden in a redeemed world in fellowship with Him and each other.
That’s our sure destiny.