GRACE GAZETTE
Volume XVIIIssue 4
Published occasionally for Zion's mourners
Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. Hebrews 12::12-13

THE MYSTERY OF GODLINESS

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifestin the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
I Timothy 3:16

As long as there are corruptible men upon the earth there will be “controversies” of one sort or another. Most of these “controversies” arise due to the ignorance and lack of understanding which is found in varying degrees in all of mankind. Someone has wisely observed, “to err is human”. While it is true that knowledge does, (and has) increased in the earth, even as the prophecy which was recorded by Daniel (see Dan. 12:4), yet the occasion for “controversy” is not diminished, because there is not a man in the earth that knows anything as he ought to know. (see I Cor.8:2). Nonetheless, men will argue that their position of understanding is greater than the next, and that their opinion carries greater weight than that of those who might disagree with them; and thus controversy is unavoidable.

There are “experts” in all fields of endeavor who will vehemently disagree with other “experts” in the same field. This is clearly illustrated by the debates about the hot button issues of our day concerning climate change. These sort of controversies are in reality quite ridiculous and vain, but serve to illustrate man’s reliance upon his own understanding and “science falsely so-called” (I Tim. 6: 20), rather than acknowledging that any change that occurs in the earth is one which is ordered by the LORD and cannot be altered by any work of man. Debate will rage on about various economic and social issues, with the proponents of both sides, in reality, arguing from a position of ignorance rather than knowledge. Where true knowledge exists, there can be no “controversy”.

Truth does not change, nor can there be more that one version of the truth. The TRUTH is the TRUTH, and all TRUTH is found in ONE SOURCE, even HIM who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) Many men will (and have) disagreed with HIS statement, but no controversy has ever arisen over it because it is a statement of absolute fact which is inalterable. The potsherds of the earth will rail on, expressing anger or dismay at this statement, yet they have no basis upon which they can dispute that which is indisputable having been spoken by HIM who knows the end from the beginning.

Pilate had a “controversy” raging in his own mind as he pondered what the Jews meant when they said that the LORD JESUS, had said HE is a KING. Thus, he sought an answer from the LORD, saying “Art thou a king then?” Yet the LORD did not answer him according to that controversy but rather testified of the TRUTH. “Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” (John 18:37) Pilate could not receive HIS answer, for he was not “of the truth”, furthering the controversy in his own darkened mind, declaring; “what is truth?”. The TRUTH had stood before HIM, yet HE was powerless to see it.

In like fashion Paul writes to Timothy saying that his testimony concerning the “mystery of Godliness” is incontrovertible or “without controversy”. Men may cavil and rage against it but there is no scenario where it can be disproved since it is the very essence of TRUTH. It matters not that some will not believe it, or that some will imagine a vain thing. (see Ps.2) The LORD has spoken and has sent messengers into the world to proclaim that Gospel which declares the glory of the blessed GOD. HE has set HIS KING upon ZION. “The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.” (Psa 68:11) saying “Thy GOD reigneth” (Isa. 52:7) This is the fulfillment of that prophecy, “Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye,(i.e.; there is no controversy) when the LORD shall bring again Zion.” (Isa 52:8)

This “mystery of Godliness”, describes that which has now been unfolded in CHRIST. It is that mystery which was kept hid from the foundation of the world but is now made manifest to the saints of GOD as it hath pleased HIM (see Eph.3:9; Col. 1:26). Paul is an example of one of those saints who spent the first years of his adult life engaged in a controversy concerning this MAN JESUS of Nazareth. He raged against the LIGHT and kicked against the pricks with all of his might, supposing his own intellect to be greater than the TRUTH. But on the Damascus road, all of that “controversy” which dominated his thought, was dispelled by a LIGHT brighter than the sun shining in his strength, as he cried out “who art THOU LORD?”. No longer, did he dwell in darkness for HE who formed the light and created the darkness, called him, and he answered; and thus ended the controversy that plagued him.

The Greek word which is translated as “godliness”, means “piety or devotion”. Man by nature will seek out forms of “piety and devotion” which suit his own mind and appeal to his free will. Yet when the LORD is pleased to reveal HIMSELF, HE will put an end to all such pursuits. Even as Job testified that he had heard about the LORD by the teaching of men and was comfortable in what he thought he knew. But when the LORD removed the scales from his eyes, he confessed: “now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:5-6)

So the end of controversy comes to the sons of GOD as the gospel of JESUS CHRIST is declared and they embrace its TRUTH, falling down at the feet of CHRIST and clinging unto HIM, as a drowning man to a life preserver, even as Peter testified, “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68) Therefore we read the tenets of this gospel which Paul preached to Timothy, which cannot be questioned by those who believe.

GOD was manifest in the flesh”. It is impossible that man should ever come unto GOD who dwells in the light to which no man can approach. But GOD, in a display of HIS mercy and kindness has appeared unto men in the likeness of sinful flesh for sin. JESUS CHRIST, born of a woman, is the fullness of the GODHEAD bodily. It is in this body that HE did come as an offering for sin, that HE might make atonement for the sins of HIS people, according to the demands of HIS holy and immutable law; and having laid down HIS life, by the shedding of HIS blood, did indeed obtain eternal redemption for them.

HE was “justified in the SPIRIT”. The use of the term “justified”, here, literally means to “render, or have regard to righteousness”. The SPIRIT of GOD continually testified of HIS acceptance with GOD as that perfect MAN who went about doing good and performing HIS FATHER’s will as HE walked upon the earth. “And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Mar 1:10-11) The SPIRIT continues this work even now as HE testifies to the sons of GOD of HIS station as their GREAT MEDIATOR and REDEEMER.; worthy of all praise.

HE was “seen of angels”. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.” (Psa 91:11-12) They were appointed to this ministry even though unable to fully grasp the full measure of that which HE undertook. (see I Pet 1:12) In the ages to come they shall testify of HIS glory alongside those whom HE has redeemed from sin and death.

HE was “preached among the Gentiles”. Paul says this is that mystery which was hidden from the beginning of the world, “That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel.” (Eph 3:6) “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” (Acts13:48)

HE was “believed on in the world”. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)

HE was “received up into glory”. “While they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.” (Acts 1:9) “Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” (Rev 7:10) This is the song of the redeemed, without controversy.

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