[Papercut Press] 2004-12-07 - Principles

Ephesians 1:9, "He made know to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him"

Let us simply start with the principles Paul Bayne thinks are key to this verse:

  1. God works saving wisdom in none in whom he opens not the doctrine of wisdom, the Gospel of salvation.
  2. The doctrine of our salvation through Christ is a hidden secrecy.
  3. The reason why God reveals or opens the gospel to any is his mere gracious pleasure within himself.

The first point is a double negative and could easily be simply put as, "God gives the wisdom of salvation to whom He pleases." I will commend Bayne here for not doing what can easily be done with this verse, and that is ripping it out of its context to make it say something, even true things, that the verse is not actually saying. Within the context of the passage, the verse is dealing with salvation and not all of God's revelation. It would be easy to apply this verse to all of the mysteries regarding God's revelation to us, but when we study Scripture, we must do what Bayne has done with this verse and not try to make it say more than the context of the passage allows.

There is a mystery to our faith, as 1 Timothy 3:9 speaks of the mystery of godliness regarding deacons. There is a mystery about salvation and our faith. This is one of the reasons that faith involves trust. There is a sense that the object of our faith is hidden. Many say that faith is irrational, and that what cannot be proven scientifically is not worthy of faith. Something that can be proven does not require faith. But this is where the wisdom of faith comes in. This is why faith is wisdom and thus is not irrational. In truth, faith then becomes the height of rational thinking. But as this verse teaches, this wisdom is only given by God, and as Christians, we cannot expect the non-Christian to understand this.

That is maybe the doctrinal side of this verse, but when we think of faith, we also need to look at it as very practical. A great historical example of faith is that of Martin Luther. We probably all know his famous "Here I stand, God help me," quote when he was on trial, but before he went to trial, his friends tried to convince him not to go, but rather flee for his life. His faith allowed him to be unconcerned about what this world could do to him. Before he went to trial, he had another quote that is less known. He told his friends, "If there were as many devils there as there are tiles on the roofs of the houses, I would face them all in the name of God." That really is faith seen and coupled with wisdom.

This is the mystery of God's will in salvation. It takes a poor monk and makes him the leader of a revolution. Today it takes men and women to levels of faith and their need to share it with others, that they would die before they denied it or remained silent. It is believed that there were more Christian martyrs in the 20th century than in all other centuries combined. God still is raising up men and women for His cause, "of whom the world is not worthy," Hebrews 11:38. Many of us will never be faced with making the choice between our faith or our lives, but we can still uphold the mystery of our faith by living as men and women of whom the world is not worthy.

Soli Deo Gloria,

[email tim] godrulestb@aol.com