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Mystery:  What is the fellowship of the Mystery? 

Gary Googe Dec 26

It is only in the writings of the great apostle Paul that we find this “mystery” I present in this article.

Ephesians 3:2-4, 8-9

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 [MUSTERION = secret]; (as I wrote afore in few words,

4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)

This whole paragraph is related to this “mystery” that remains something not understood or even known by most church leadership.

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 [ANEXERAUNTOS = not traceable] riches of Christ;

When it says these things are “unsearchable” or not traceable it means they are nowhere found outside the writings of the apostle Paul.

9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship [KOINONIEA = fellowship or sharing in common] of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: [Emphasis added]

Paul is referring to these truths that we share today that God’s people in former times did not have and know anything about.  They are blessings both Jews and Gentiles can have in Christ.  This includes something as basic as the gospel message for salvation.  The cross of Christ was prophesied but in such veiled terms that no one understood what was being said.  This is also why Paul even calls this new gospel message “my gospel.”

2 Timothy 2:8

8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: [Emphasis added]

He speaks of it this way to differentiate it from the gospel Peter proclaimed. Paul mentions this multiple times, even saying we’ll all be judged according to this which he speaks of as his gospel message.

Romans 2:16

16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. [Emphasis added]

He tells us we’re to follow his teaching of the gospel message and more.

1 Corinthians 4:16

16 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. [Emphasis added]

Because this is so important he even repeats himself about it in the same letter.

1 Corinthians 11:1

1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. [Emphasis added]

Again, he does this to set his gospel message in contrast to that which is spoken of as Peter’s gospel, the gospel of the circumcision.

Galatians 2:7

7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me [Paul], as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; [Emphasis added] [Beware of how certain Bible translations mistranslate this verse.]

Romans 16:25 is still another passage that addresses this.  Please see my other articles on this very important subject.

Gospels:  Did Peter and Paul preach the same gospel?

Paul:  What’s so special about his teaching?

Paul:  Do we make too much of him?

It is because of all this that we need to pay attention to this because it is only Paul, not Peter or any of the others, who is said to be the apostle to the Gentiles.

Romans 11:13

13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I [Paul] am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify [MEGALUNO = make great (we today might say—make a big deal of something) mine office: [Emphasis added]

It is Paul’s teaching that is specifically addressed to us today.  His teachings are commandments of the Lord to us in our time.

1 Corinthians 14:37-38

37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. [Emphasis added]

Paul wants all to know that he is not behind in the ranking of any of the other apostles.  Christendom puts Peter on top of things for us today but that is incorrect teaching.

2 Corinthians 12:11-12

11 I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.

12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you [by him, Paul] in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. [Emphasis added]

There’s more about this important fact in Paul’s letter to the Galatians.

Galatians 2:8 

8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles🙂 [Emphasis added]

It has always amazed me how the church of our time has so downplayed the role of the apostle Paul because they fail to understand that it is in his writings that we find even the gospel message by which to be saved today.  We are even told that it is in his writings that we find the road to the stabilization of one’s spiritual maturity in our time.

Romans 16:25

25 Now to him that is of power to stablish [STERIZO = establish or stabilize] you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, [Emphasis added]

When he speaks of “the preaching of Jesus Christ” he’s saying that his message is the message of Jesus Christ for us today.  Paul’s message and that of Jesus Christ are one and the same.  His message carries the same authority as the words of our Lord.  It is the teaching of Paul that has the means to carry any believer to spiritual maturity.  It was God, the Holy Spirit, who wrote through the apostle Paul.  His words, therefore, are God’s words to us today.  What a huge difference it would make today if Christendom understood this.  God wants us all to understand and appreciate this “fellowship of the mystery” and a lot more.  The term, “fellowship” is speaking of our intimate relationship we have with all fellow believers in this which is spoken of as the Body of Christ.  We, both Jews and Gentiles, are all intimately related.  We are more than brothers and sisters spiritually.  We are together members of that which is called the Body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:12-13

12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. [Emphasis added]

This union comes about the moment we are saved.  The Holy Spirit unites or baptizes us with Christ.  We are then made permanent members [or parts] of this body of God’s people.  This is the one baptism of our time that accomplishes this.

Ephesians 4:5

5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, [Emphasis added] 

This doctrine has been distorted and minimized in importance by all the emphasis today being put on water baptism instead of this one dry baptism that unites us with Christ.  It is important to notice that water baptism was never a part of Paul’s commission, as it isn’t a part of ours either.

1 Corinthians 1:17

17 For Christ sent me [Paul] not to baptize, but to preach the gospel [the gospel that was Paul’s gospel]: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. [Emphasis added]

The commission our Lord gave the apostles that is recorded in places like Matthew 28:19-20 and Mark 16:15-18 were to Israel, not us today.  For more information about all this, please see my article about it.

Commission:  Which one is ours?

The focus throughout Paul’s epistles is on this one baptism, the baptism of the Holy Spirit that places every believer into what is called the Body of Christ.  Both Jews and Gentiles are fellow heirs of this, enjoying the same everlasting blessings.

Ephesians 3:6

6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: [Emphasis added]

From time past God was building His people all through the progeny of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  However, that suddenly and abruptly changed with the salvation of Saul of Tarsus.  He was the first of this period of history we speak of as the Dispensation of the Grace of God.

1 Timothy 1:16-17

16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

Paul has only praise for God Who did this.

17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. [Emphasis added]

From then till now God has been building a body of people made up of both Jews and Gentiles which is called the Body of Christ.  We are also the “fellowship” of the mystery which is a gathering of people with like interests and identity.  This body of believers is also called the “one new man” Paul speaks of in his letter to the Ephesians.

Ephesians 2:15

15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; [Emphasis added]

This group of believers is said to be “not known after the flesh,” meaning there is no such distinction between Jew or Gentile in the Body of Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:16-17

16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.

17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [KTISIS = creation]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. [Emphasis added]

What this is telling us is that we, today, as members of the Body of Christ, do not know Jesus Christ in accordance with His earthly ministry.  Our focus today is on His heavenly ministry which is quite different from His earthly one.  When we study the Scriptures rightly divided, we are not to mix or attempt to blend Israel’s program [or Peter’s] with ours as though they are one and the same.  They are not! They are different, having their own features.  There’s a lot of contrast between things you’ll read in the books of Matthew through John and what you’ll read in Paul’s thirteen epistles. Again, there are differences and major ones at that which we all need to know.  The sorting of these things out is called rightly dividing the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15

15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [Emphasis added]

An example of this sorting is circumcision.  In Scripture much is made of it as a required rite for believers.  But today it has no spiritual significance whatsoever.

Galatians 5:6

6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing [ISCHUO = is good for nothing], nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. [Emphasis added]

Galatians 6:15

15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

The exact same thing can and should be said today about circumcision.  But today the controversial subject that has replaced it is water baptism.  That also has no place today whatsoever.  For more details about this, please see my article about it.

Baptism:  What are we to believe about it?

Conclusion—

Beginning with the salvation of Saul of Tarsus who became known as the apostle Paul, God began something entirely new.  When people are saved in our time it is because they accept the death, burial, and resurrection as the sole basis for their salvation.  They understand that Jesus Christ paid the full penalty for their sins and was raised to provide us with a way of gaining the righteousness of God by faith alone.  No physical activities such as circumcision or water baptism are required for one’s salvation.  Today we have the baptism of the Holy Spirit that permanently identifies us with Christ, uniting us with Him forever. We are then said to be members or parts of the mystical Body of Christ.  It is this that makes us a part of this fellowship of believers that is said to have been a mystery, a secret hidden in the mind of God.  As we noted at the beginning of this article, it is this truth that is an important part of what we are to explain to others.

Ephesians 3:9 again

9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship [KOINONIEA = fellowship or sharing in common]  of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: [Emphasis added]

You will find that most people, even churchgoers, know nothing about this.  It is as though it isn’t even in the Bible.  Yet it is an ongoing theme in all Paul’s writings.  You have a chance to be a wonderful exception to this as you come to understand and appreciate this wonderful blessing God has provided for us.

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