Journey to Bethlehem Day 25
Wednesday, December 23 Romans 16:25-27
25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26 but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— 27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.
What is the mystery that Paul refers to here?
The mystery is Christ himself.
For long ages, Christ was only hinted at in the types and shadows of the Old Testament. Looking back we can see Christ as the Word that God spoke over creation; as the lamb that God provides Abraham to substitute for Isaac on Mount Moriah; as the Passover lamb; as the bronze serpent “lifted up” so that the Israelites could look at it to be saved from their deadly snake bites; as the One in all of the Messianic prophesies.
But what was once a mystery was made known to all the nations through Christ coming in the flesh.
This concept is beautifully put in Article 7 of the 39 Articles of Religion (included in the back of the BCP):
“…both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to Mankind by Christ… Wherefore they are not to be heard, which feign that the old Fathers did look only for transitory promises.”
Basically, Thomas Cranmer was saying that in both the Old and New Testament times, salvation has always come by faith. The Old Testament Fathers were not looking to God for only transitory, or temporary promises. They were looking forward to the future, to the culmination of all the promises in the Bible. They were looking forward to the Messiah.
For they had faith in the portion of the story of redemption that had been revealed to them. They had faith in the mystery. Similarly, we have faith in the portion of the story that has been revealed to us. We are privileged to be able to see Christ, not just in types and shadows, but in the Incarnation.
Father God, thank You for revealing to us the mystery of Christ. All glory belongs to You the only wise God20