The Now of the Mystery - Continuing
They are becoming so weary of exercising their own faith and keeping it alive that sooner or later they will welcome a revelation of Christ as their life and begin to use and glory in His faith. This is indeed the rest for the weary-His rest.
The Now of the Mystery Another vibrant now is found in Ephesians 3:5. It simply says that this mystery has now been revealed through the Spirit. The mystery is Christ in us, the hope of glory
(Col. 1:27). It is a common thing for every believer to feel he has received a revelation of Christ. It certainly is not my mission or the mission of anyone else to judge a believer's revelation. My only mission is to confirm that the Spirit as revealed Christ by the preaching of the Word. Yet, a believer who has received a revelation that Christ is his life has entered into a now walk which controls his entire being. This believer will join Paul in being determined to know nothing other than Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2). This will be the true evidence. To effect this, all other interests-whether interests developed by past leading of the Spirit or current victories wrought by one's own faith or future plans will all be swallowed up by seeing Jesus only. As with Peter, James and John on the Mount of Transfiguration, a cloud will come down and cover all human abilities; and when it lifts, gone will be the human efforts of building and doing honor to earthly beings. Only Jesus will be left. American believers will never be free to see the real Jesus as their life until they are delivered of the human efforts of men, which are incessantly promoted for religious purposes. The ever-promoted ideas that "bigger is better, " or success is spirituality, or health is wealth must be swallowed up by the cloud of the Spirit. When this happens, the believer enters into the now. This now is a thing of the Spirit, supplying every need. Wonderful is the good news. The Spirit is revealing the mystery worldwide.
A Branch Can Never Be the Vine Last of all, we have another now to look at in Ephesians 5:8. Here Paul says you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Once we walked in darkness, ignorant, misled by vain words, but now we walk in light. The walk of the believer is gravely important. It is not enough to just know that Christ is in you and revel in this knowledge; it is equally important to take on His nature. The next verse in this context, verse 9, speaks of the fruit of the Spirit. While the believer (the container) can never become the contents (Christ), he can be changed by the bearing of Christ fruit. A branch can never be the vine, yet the branch, simply by bearing the fruit, is becoming more like the vine. Even as a wife (Rom.7) cannot become her husband, she does grow in his spirit and takes up his ways of love; so does the believer. Now are you light, and everything He is, you are. His "I am's" are our "I am's." We are growing up into Him as He is being formed in us. The believer now is showing signs of His nature. As knowledge grows, His mind takes hold; the believer not only bears His fruit, but expresses His Spirit. Let us not be deceived; Christ in us, as us, is constantly being manifested by the Holy Spirit. This flow of Christ in the believer is changing him from glory to glory. While the Father has made Christ in the believer the only acceptable righteousness, this very appearance of righteousness is overwhelming to the believer, bringing every thought and action under Christ's control, and spurring the believer to Christ-likeness. Even though the believer is not now, nor is ever to be, perfect in the flesh, his flesh is controlled by the mystery, now.
The Essence of the Mystery It seems that the whole idea of the now is centered in the great mystery. In fact, I see the now generation as a people who are constantly seeing the revelation of the I mystery. This makes imperative finding out exactly what the mystery is. Romans 16:25 says several things we have yet to consider concerning the mystery. We must say that the mystery is simply that the Father has elected,by sovereign grace, to place, within the believer, another person, Christ, who will be the only life of the believer. This verse in Romans lends great mystique to the mystery. First, God hid the mystery from the believers in the Old Testament; in fact, it was kept secret since the world began. Second, the revelation of this mystery to the believer was an important factor in the establishing of the believer. This fact offers a suggestion as to why so many believers never mature or
grow, even a little, in the Lord. The mystery must be known and talked about if the believer is to be established. Sad to say, many people immediately draw back at the very word mystery. This is, perhaps, because so many cults and false religions make so much of their particular mystery. But as it is switch all biblical truth and words, the erroneous and false seem to grab truth first and run with it, making those who are fundamental draw back from using it. We must not do this any longer. Truth is a person, Christ, and He is our life. All words and biblical ideas that belong to Him are ours-only ours. We must not draw back at the word mystery. This is what the Father calls the very heart of His plan. He calls it a mystery because He did not want every creature to know what He was doing. He hid the great mystery from Satan, probably until Isaiah's day. He hid it from humans until the Day of Pentecost. Even then, when He made it known, He restricted the knowing of it to come only through the Holy Spirit, and with that, it was not until Paul received the revelation of the Christ in us that it was known by the Church.It could be proposed that these extreme precautions the Father took are twofold in purpose. First, He was able to keep it hidden from Satan. He had planned that the new creation was to take the place of Lucifer, who was dethroned. Hiding this truth-keeping it a mystery-fooled Satan. Second was the news that the sons He chose were to be His and His alone; they were not created and chosen to be independents. They were to be His sons.
The Father Is Always In Control Beautifully, John says, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God" (1 John 3:2). Most carefully, the Father unwraps this great mystery and makes it known. Since it has to do with His having eternal sons, He stays in complete control. While Satan may tempt us, trick us, and ever harm us, we are the chosen and the mystery; Christ in us is working today as never before. A fuller explanation of the mystery is seen in 1 Corinthians 2:7. Here we see that the "hidden wisdom"which was ordained before the world unto our glory is the mystery. How beautiful that God had this mystery in His mind before the world was created. This thought drives deep into the mind of God. He is sharing His very thoughts-the thoughts that He had when He was working out His plan for the ages to get His sons. It was His intention to do something He had never done before. He was going to put another person, the only person who pleases Him and bears His total likeness, in His new creation. This very idea was a break in all of His proposed creation. Everything He had planned was perfect-so perfect that when He created each day, He could say, "It is good." But this placing of another in the human being was different. It, in fact,was so differment that He called it a mystery-the mystery of God. It was His thing; He alone conceived it; He alone could work it out; and He alone would explain it. It was His intention that the mystery and the sons who took hold of the mystery would form a fellowship of the mystery (Eph.3:9). Dynamically, Paul says his mission is to make all men see that there is a fellowship of those who know Christ as their only life. Thus far, the fellowships made by men fall far short of God's intention. These fellowships are held together by the external screeds, doctrines, buildings, works and even miracles. All of these are earthly and temporal. The fellowship of the mystery is heavenly and eternal. Men try to hold the earthly fellowships together and always fail. No one has to hold the fellowship of the mystery together. It has the substance of grace working, and every possessor knows that he is eternal-now.
The Body Already Is One in Christ Already,we are discovering the tremendous force there is in the fellowship of the mystery. There is a bond between these believers which goes beyond human explanation. Since we no longer see another believer after the flesh,we develop a bond of love which humans have always sought but never found. Just knowing that Christ is in the other believer brings a vibrant understanding of all that Jesus taught concerning our relationship of one to another. Only in the fellowship of the mystery can we finally see the fulfillment of all the New Testament demands such as the Body being one, or the Church without spot or wrinkle, or an adorned Bride, or there being one Body,one Church, inveteracy. I always thought there was true fellowship in the past moves of the Spirit which would never be surpassed. Truly, as these moves progressed, like the healing campaigns, the Pentecostal move, or the Charismatic Renewal, the fellowship was wonderful, but in time they failed, as they were not based on the eternal. This great move of the Spirit is different; it is a fellowship of Jesus people-people who know who they are in Christ, and live Him. Next, we are able to see that the mystery has to do with the bringing about of oneness in the Body of Christ. In Ephesians 5:32, Paul uses the lessons of marriage to show the believer's relationship with Christ. He plainly says that just as a husband and wife are to be one, so is Christ one with the members of His Body,the Church. It is interesting to see, in Paul's teaching, that he never mentions the husband and wife relationship without making the point that the purpose of that relationship is to show the believer's ultimate relationship to Christ. We further assume that the main purpose of marriage, aside from procreation, is to show mankind that the greater relationship to be had on Earth is between Christ and the believer. In all marriage teaching in the Scriptures, we see that each mate is to love his/he. mate's body as his/her own (Eph. 5:28).
Christ's Body Is Perfect He goes on to say that Christ loves us as His own body, and that we are intricately woven into His body as flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone. This literally means that when WE were born-again, we became members of His Body He has an earthly Body and each of us was set into that Body when regeneration took place. It is in that Body that we live and move and have our very being . All emphasis is taken off our natural bodies, for our deliverance is not in our bodies becoming perfect ,here and now, but in us seeing that being in Him gives us a perfect body. This, Paul says, is the "great mystery" concerning Christ and His Church. All through the years of the Latter Rain Movement, Satan has tricked believers into believing their own bodies were where the Father was doing a great work. I remember a brother from the northwest, several years ago, who wrote many good books about the dual aspects of God's plan, but he eventually came to error by thinking faith comes to perfect operation in the believer's body. He literally taught that if the believer had enough faith, he could live without sickness and not die. This was a trick of Satan, for he was seeing that the perfect body of Christ, which the revelation believer lives in by the Spirit, had become his own flesh body. Regardless of what we believe about our own faith, there is no perfection for the human body; the Father never intended this. This is the error that the Church at Thessalonica got into. They believed that if they had enough faith they would never die. It was a good promotional doctrine until a believer died. This is the point that many "faith believers" have come to today. It's a good promotion, but it just does not work. The reason is that the Father has placed every believer in a body-Christ s Body-and there we will never die.
As the Body Ages, It Weakens Constantly, people send me material dealing with perfection in the flesh. This dear brother I mentioned above, who for so long advocated perfect faith, finally died with disease. For the past forty years, I have known most of the great healers and faith teachers in our world. Many of them have passed on to their rewards. Not a one made the "perfect body" teaching work. Almost all died with disease, even though they were in hyper faith; others maintained that God just took them. I knew another man who was greatly used of God. He got off-center in Christ and began to say that a day was coming, upon Earth, when our earthly bodies would become imperishable, and the believer will conquer sin and sickness in his own body. Once again, I strongly stress that this is a trick of Satan. Our bodies were created as containers to hold an eternal Spirit; that Spirit is Christ. What Satan wants is to blind us from the Christ-life in us by distracting us with the fleshly body. At best, these earthly bodies are but clay pots. It is not the pot that is important, but the treasure in it. Satan's desire is to minimize the mystery and do away with the true Body we are in-Christ's Body.