1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
6 That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.
How wonderful it is to see the truth of what Paul wrote by inspiration of God in this great passage! The Bible begins to unfold as never before, and our spiritual growth begins to flourish.
We immediately desire to share this glorious truth with others, but it does not take long to realize that most people are not nearly as interested in this truth as we are. They do not see the fellowship of the mystery and do not understand the importance of Paul’s distinct message and ministry in this present age of grace.
Why is it that so few see what God has so graciously allowed us to see?
The root reason that so few see the mystery is Satan (Eph. 6:10-12). He always works to oppose what God is doing, and he always works in accordance with how God is working. The most important thing is to know who God is and what He is doing, but after that, you better learn about who Satan is and what he is doing in opposition to God’s work. God changes in His dealings with men throughout the ages, and so does Satan.
When Christ was on the earth doing visible signs and wonders, Satan’s opposition to His ministry was also visible. God is working spiritually, not visibly, in this present age (e.g., Phil. 1:6; 2:13; 1 Thess. 2:13).
Therefore, so is Satan. Paul warns us throughout his epistles about the danger of spiritual deception (e.g., 1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Tim. 3:13 – “wiles”, “beguile”, “bewitched”, “deceive”, et al). If we fail to put on the whole armor of God, we will not be able to stand against the wiles of the devil (Eph. 6:10-20).
What is God’s will in this present age? (1 Tim. 2:4; Col. 1:23-29)
- All men to be saved – to every creature with the gospel
- To come unto the knowledge of the truth – to the church with the mystery
Therefore, Satan is working to:
- Blind sinners to the gospel of Christ (2 Cor. 4:3-4) – by another gospel (Gal. 1:6-12; 2 Cor. 11:4)
- Blind saints to the mystery (2 Cor. 11:3) – false doctrine, philosophy, tradition (Col. 2:8)
Satan’s mystery of iniquity (religion) works in opposition to God’s mystery of godliness (cf. 1 Tim. 3:14-16 with 1 Tim. 4:1-6; 2 Thess. 2:7; 2 Tim. 3:5).
Yet, Satan cannot make people stay blinded if they choose to believe the truth (2 Tim. 2:24-26).
Why People Remain Blinded
Why people remain blinded to the mystery when presented with the truth:
- They are not spiritual (1 Cor. 2:6 – 3:2) – lost or carnal
- They are not Bible-believers (1 Thess. 2:13)
- They are not passionate about the truth (Prov. 18:1; 23:23; Acts 18:24-26)
- They fail to personally study the Bible (Acts 17:11; 1 Thess. 5:21; 2 Tim. 2:15)
- They are misinformed (Prov. 18:13) – they listen to false accusations about right division
- They fear man instead of God (Prov. 1:7; 9:10; 29:25) – not willing to bear reproach
- They love tradition more than the truth (Mk. 7:9; Gal. 1:13-14; Col. 2:8)
- They are proud (1 Tim. 6:3-5) – not teachable, not willing to admit they have been wrong
What Can We Do?
We cannot open people’s eyes to spiritual truth. The power is in the word of God and not in our presentation. It is not possible to present the truth better than Jesus Christ, yet many rejected His message. Paul was the greatest preacher who ever lived, yet many rejected his message.
We can only reach the reachable and teach the teachable. We must be faithful (1 Cor. 3:6-15; 4:1-5). Keep praying (Col. 4:12) and sharing the truth with all who will listen. However, some will choose to stay in the world’s largest denomination: the ignorant brethren (1 Cor. 14:37-38).
The work of the ministry is not about numbers (1 Tim. 6:5). It is about the quality of our work, not the quantity. We must first and foremost seek to please God. It glorifies God to make his truth known, regardless of the response. God will hold us accountable for our faithfulness, not results.
Of the over seven billion people in the world, how many profess faith in the gospel of Christ? Of all the professing believers in the world, how many of them believe the Bible? Of all those who profess to believe the Bible, how many rightly divide it?
We are greatly blessed to be saved, have the scripture, and know how to study it! We also have a great responsibility to make the truth known to as many as possible. We are not sufficient in ourselves, but God can use us for His glory (2 Cor. 2:16; 3:5; 4:7). Don’t quit! It will be worth it all when we see Christ (Gal. 6:9).
David O'Steen has been the pastor of Hope Bible Church in Jackson, GA since 2005. Pastor O'Steen believes that the King James Bible is the inspired and preserved word of God (2 Tim 3:16) and that rightly dividing (2Tim 2:15) is the key to understand the Bible.