September 9, 2011

Secrets revealed

Christianity is not a secret society like some service organizations and cults. God actually charges His people to be transparent and without hidden motives or agendas. Yes, we are told to be wise and not “cast our pearls before swine” meaning to keep our mouths shut in front of those who have already openly rejected our message. However, for the most part, we are to freely share the good news of salvation. We are also to be open books regarding all that we believe.

That being said, there is an aspect of Christianity that cannot be seen with human eyes or understanding apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. That is, unless the Spirit unlocks the human heart, the teachings in the Bible are confusing at best and may even sound like total gibberish. 

Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. (1 Corinthians 2:6–10)
In a secret society, tenets are conveyed from one person to another, human channels. In Christianity, truth is revealed to each one by the Holy Spirit. He might use the words of another Christian, or anyone else for that matter, but all understanding is given by God. Without Him, we don’t “get” it. This is true before salvation and also after we are saved.

Paul wrote to the church at Colosse explaining that he was suffering for the sake of the church. He told his readers (and us) that he “became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints” (Colossians 1:25–26).

God reveals it, but what is this mystery? That word is used at least two dozen times in the New Testament and each time refers to a different aspect of Christian truth; the mystery of Christ, the mystery of the gospel, the mystery of godliness, and so on. What is more important is that God reveals it — but only  to those whose hearts are turned toward Him. 

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. (Jeremiah 33:3)
Again, this happens first in salvation and becoming a Christian, but it is also true afterwards. As Spurgeon says, “. . . . there are reserved and special things in Christian experience: all the developments of spiritual life are not alike easy of attainment. There are the common frames and feelings of repentance, and faith, and joy, and hope, which are enjoyed by the entire family; but there is an upper realm of rapture, of communion, and conscious union with Christ, which is far from being the common dwelling-place of believers.”

He goes on to describe how John leaned against the bosom of Jesus and how Paul was “taken up to the third heaven.” These intimate times with Jesus happen to believers, usually without any expectation or advance notice! Spurgeon also says that these experiences are for those who are involved in prevailing prayer.

While that may be true, in my experience a special revelation of Jesus Christ is also for those who are totally helpless and without any other resources. He can appear in ways that are too wonderful for words, too precious to describe, too singular and intimate to share with the world.

God, You reveal the truth of who You are and what You can do to those whose hearts are primed either by prayer or problems. While we may be ready to hear these and other mysteries, it is always up to You how You reveal Yourself in special ways. It could happen when we pray, but it also happens when we need You, even when we least expect You to come alongside and speak or just be here.

Your presence and the revelation of Yourself is a wonder and a great grace. Certainly no one deserves it nor can anyone make it happen. Yet You always know exactly what we need to keep our hearts focused on You. Sometimes that need is answered by Your revelation of a hidden thing. For this I praise and thank You.

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