Friday, February 24, 2023

2023.02.24 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Timothy 3:16

Read 1 Timothy 3:16

Questions from the Scripture text: How sure is the doctrine in 1 Timothy 3:16? What is the first thing that it says about the mystery? What is the mystery about? Who was manifested how? What did the Spirit declare about Him? What else was done to Him? By whom? What else was done to Him? Among whom? What else was done with Him? In where? What else was done with Him? Where?  

What truth is the church especially to maintain? 1 Timothy 3:16 looks forward to the evening devotional on the coming Lord’s Day. In this verse of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the church is especially to maintain the truth about Jesus.

Jesus Christ is the mystery of godliness. The rest of the verse makes this plain. And this helps us understand why it was so important that the church fulfill its function as pillar and ground of the truth. The great truth is the truth about Jesus. The truth about godliness that we could not know unless God told us is that godliness can come only through Christ. 

Jesus Christ is God in the flesh. “God was manifested in the flesh.” Those who resist such plain statements of Christ’s divinity show how perverse and hard their hearts are. If men are justly judged for refusing the truth about God that He has made known via the creation, how much more greatly are they judged who refuse God’s own display of Himself in the incarnation!

Jesus Christ is declared righteous by the Spirit. This was done at His baptism, when the Spirit rested upon Him like a dove, and God announced that Jesus was well-pleasing. And it was done most of all at His resurrection, in which He was vindicated both as God and as perfectly righteous (cf. Romans 1:4). 

Jesus Christ was seen by angels. It is true that “angels” can generically mean “messengers.” So, is this heavenly messengers or earthly preachers? Some have noted a pattern of earth-heaven—heaven-earth—earth-heaven in these six statements. But the fact of the matter is that, upon His resurrection, Jesus was witnessed by both heavenly messengers and earthly preachers. Whether man or angel, preachers of Jesus Christ are not wordsmithing abstractions. They are testifying to an historically resurrected Redeemer.

Jesus Christ was preached among the nations. This may not impress us so much now, but it was a great part of the mystery of godliness at the time of the apostles. Israel’s Redeemer was for all the nations! His heralds were authorized, indeed commanded, to proclaim good news not just to Israel but to all.

Jesus Christ was believed on in the world. Here is more exercise of His saving power. Not only was He resurrected, but He resurrects souls. Not only has He mandated the preaching of the gospel; He gives the believing of the gospel. The cross was not a hypothetical offer of salvation, but the securing of it. Everyone for whom Jesus died would come to believe.

Jesus Christ was received up in glory. The church must believe and proclaim not only Christ’s original ascension, but His continual reign until He returns. The Redeemer continues to sit in glorious power and rule. As the church is ruled by Him on earth, it enjoys that privilege in common with the highest heaven! His Spirit’s work among us is a continual reminder that He Whom the Lord was to pour out from His throne has indeed been poured out, and therefore we may be certain that He continues to sit upon His throne.

By what means are you building up your doctrinal knowledge? Who, especially are you learning about?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank You and praise You for revealing Yourself to us in the Person of Jesus Christ. We praise You, Lord Jesus—God and Man, perfectly righteous, absolute in authority, powerful to save and to reign forever and ever. Forgive us for taking doctrine lightly, and grant unto us instead to embrace and uphold and proclaim the truth about You, which we ask in Your Name, AMEN!

ARP110B “The Lord Has Spoken to My Lord” or TPH270 “At the Name of Jesus”

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