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Ephesians overview –The Mystery Revealed, Jesus Christ, part 6 (reconciliation).

EPHESIANS-1-200225
length: 67:52 - taught on Feb, 25 2020
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Tuesday February 25,2020
 

Christ uncovered many mysteries of the past, while He also gave us more that remain uncovered. In trying to unravel the further ones some have distorted them.

 

EPH 3:1-13

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles —  2 if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace which was given to me for you; 3 that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. 4 And by referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; 6 to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, 7 of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God's grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. 8 To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things; 10 in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him. 13 Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf [vs. 1 “prisoner of Christ Jesus], for they are your glory.

 

The mystery of God in Christ making Him to be sin in order to reconcile us and the world, 2CO 5:18-21.

 

2CO 5:17-21

Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

 

20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

 

God the Father initiates reconciliation.

 

The initiative of reconciliation is from God. The verbs He uses are: God reconciling, God giving, God appealing, God making Christ be sin for us. The initiative is all His and not ours, nor even Christ’s who was sent, “I have come to do Your will, O God” (HEB 10:7).

 

Christ is the agent of reconciliation.

 

Next, Christ is the agent of reconciliation. He reconciled us to Himself “through” Christ (vs. 18) and God was reconciling the world to Himself “in” Christ (vs. 19). Both statements tell us that the Father took the initiative and Christ was the agent, yet Paul changes “us” to “the world” in order to show the universal scope of reconciliation, and “through” to “in” Christ to show that the Father was not working through Christ as His agent at a distance, but was actually present in Him while Christ accomplished the work.

 

Such statements by Paul raise more questions that certainly Paul would have himself considered and wondered. Yet Paul doesn’t attempt to offer any answers.

 

2PE 3:14-18

Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, 15 and regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness, 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

 

Some have proclaimed that Peter had a hard time understanding what was in Paul’s letters. People teach that because from there it isn’t as long a step to claim that they know things that “common people” like Peter the fisherman find hard to understand. Peter doesn’t at all say that he didn’t understand them. If Peter didn’t understand them then what hope do we have. Paul wrote, “when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ.”

 

Peter wrote that the untaught and unstable distort the teaching of the mystery of Christ. These find the truth of the Person and work of Christ hard to understand.

 

Heed Peter’s warning. Be on your guard. If what you hear or read is not plainly taught in the scripture, then seek for answers to the truth of the issue as God has revealed it in His word. This means that you will have to be a humble and tenacious student of the word of God.

 

The Trinity is one and yet three Persons who undertake different functions. The sinless God/Man can become sin or be judged for sin and die physically. The Father reconciled us through Him and in Him. We do not understand how these things can be, but we can comprehend to some extent that Jesus as the Son of God and the Father experienced an enormous sacrifice in order to not count our sins against us and make Jesus to be sin on our behalf, and in this we can marvel and rejoice and give thanks, and in doing so, allow it to change our lives, our perspective, our outlook the way that it should; the way that it was designed to. 

 

Rejoicing in the finished work of Christ is the path to maturity. Everything we are and everything we learn about who we are and who God is, always returns to the cross of Christ.

 

Jesus redeemed us so that we could be reconciled to God. He did not redeem our sin, or our fallen selves. He was judged for sin and crucified our flesh with its passions and desires. He redeemed us, maintaining us alive with His own life after crucifying our old life. So then, He demands that we deny the old life and discover the new. Jesus has given us everything to head off on a path of true self-discovery, and by reconciling us to God the Father, we walk this path with God, empowered by the Spirit. Self-denial, denial of the old self and the old way, is not the road to self-destruction but the road to self-discovery.

 

“We must be fearless in affirming all that we are by creation, redemption and calling, and ruthless in disowning all that we are by the Fall.” [Stott, The Cross of Christ]

 

2CO 5:17-21

Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

 

20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

 

We read here the aorist tense “reconciled” or past tense, meaning that the work for reconciling is finished.

 

What did God do? Negatively, He declined to reckon our transgressions against us (vs. 19), and its positive counterpart, “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”

 

This last statement, vs. 21, is one of the most startling statements ever heard in the world. James Denney says of it: “Mysterious and awful as this thought is, it is the key to the whole of the New Testament.” For our sake God actually made the sinless Christ to be sin with our sins.

 

The God who refused to reckon our sins to us reckoned them to Christ instead.

 

His unique sinlessness uniquely qualified Him to bear our sins in our place.

 

Our sins were imputed to the sinless Christ in order that we sinners, by being united with Him, might receive as a free gift a standing of righteousness before God.

 

Luther wrote to a monk who was in distress about his sins: “Learn to know Christ and Him crucified. Learn to sing to Him and say ‘Lord Jesus, You are my righteousness, I am Your sin. You took on you what was mine; yet set on me what was Yours. You became what You were not, that I might become what I was not.”

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