The Mystery of Godliness
By: Robert E. Henson
There are at least seven mysteries spoken of in the Bible. Two of these mysteries are dominant and stand in direct and forceful opposition to each other.
The Mystery of Iniquity
First, let us consider the mystery of iniquity, or the mystery of lawlessness. The mystery of iniquity is, in essence, man proclaiming himself to be God. Paul wrote about this mystery. I share it with you from the Amplified Bible.
2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; 7-10
3 Let no one deceive or beguile you in any way, for that day will not come except the apostasy comes first [unless the predicted great falling away of those who have professed to be Christians has come], and the man of lawlessness (sin) is revealed, who is the son of doom (of perdition),
4 Who opposes and exalts himself so proudly and insolently against and over all that is called God or that is worshiped, [even to his actually] taking his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming that he himself is God.
7 For the mystery of lawlessness (that hidden principle of rebellion against constituted authority) is already at work in the world, [but it is] restrained only until he who restrains is taken out of the way.
8 And then the lawless one (the antichrist) will be revealed and the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of His mouth and bring him to an end by His appearing at His coming. [Isaiah 11:4.]
9 The coming [of the lawless one, the antichrist] is through the activity and working of Satan and will be attended by great power and with all sorts of [pretended] miracles and signs and delusive marvels [all of them] lying wonders
10 And by unlimited seduction to evil and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing (going to perdition) because they did not welcome the Truth but refused to love it that they might be saved.
The above biblical declaration makes it clear that the mystery of lawlessness is already at work in our world! There are three areas of current society where this lawless spirit is flourishing. One of them is the New Age movement, with its pseudo “enlightenment.”
Another arena often affording license to this dark spirit is our educational system. The promotion of humanism through our classrooms is a spreading plague among the children and youth of the up and coming generations. Humanism, in its basic form, is man as his own God.
The other marketplace for the evil spirit of lawlessness is found under the umbrella of satanic cults with their emphasis on satanic worship, dark influences, and evil practices.
The sad truth is that the influence of the mystery of iniquity does not end with the groups mentioned above. The very culture, reasoning and lifestyle of our present society are all deeply influenced by this malignant spirit. The swelling river of lawlessness in our world will soon bring on the Anti-Christ. This personage will be a despot full of demonic power. He will use that power to provide stunning demonstrations of mystical feats that will influence millions to follow, and even worship, him.
The Anti-Christ will actually make the audacious claim that he is God. As strange as it sounds, a lot of religious organizations will be caught up in the compelling and intriguing plot of the Anti-Christ. They will be led to destruction. While the world is being presently readied for the coming of the Anti-Christ, true believers of the New Testament Gospel are looking with anticipation for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Mystery of Godliness
The mystery of godliness is a great and powerful truth; namely, that God became a man.
1 Timothy 3:16
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”
Jesus Christ is the full and complete revelation of the mystery of godliness. The revelation begins to unfold rapidly in the following scriptures.
John 1:1; 14
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
It is important to understand that the Word is not, nor ever was, a separate person. The Word is God in Self revelation! Then, at Bethlehem, the Word was made flesh! What a dynamic truth this is. In the beginning, the Word was not flesh. The great God then took on something that He Himself did not have before flesh. God became something that He had not personally been previously a man. Yet in becoming a man, God did not cease to be what He had always been Almighty God.
The word translated Word in John 1 is the Greek word Logos. This Greek word can also be properly translated idea, concept, plan, or thought. It would not violate the truth of John 1:1 to translate it as follows. In the beginning was the Plan, and the Plan was with God, and the Plan was God.
It is also proper to translate the verse as follows. In the beginning was the Thought, and the Thought was with God, and the Thought was God. Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, postulated that Logos actually conveys the idea of the thought of the thought. When this weighed in, John 1:1 is satisfactorily translated as follows. In the beginning was the Thought of the Thought, and the Thought of the Thought was with God, and the Thought of the Thought was God.
According to some Greek scholars, the Greek word Logos actually has an even more prolific rendering. It literally can mean the Thinker of the Thought of the Thought! In pursuing this definition, the translation would read as follows.
In the beginning was the Thinker of the Thought of the Thought, and the Thinker of the Thought of the Thought was with God, and the Thinker of the Thought of the Thought was God.
The reason for my extrapolating this verse to its fullest definition is to demonstrate that there is no separation in John 1 between the Word or Thought, and the Thinker of the Thought. The Thinker is God, and the Thought itself is God.
This is also clearly seen in the expanded translation of John 1:14. And the Thinker of the Thought of the Thought was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth. The Thinker of the Thought was made flesh. This forever removes any false notion that Jesus is just a junior member of a Heavenly Tribunal. Jesus Christ is Almighty God manifested, or revealed, in flesh!
God exists in the eternal present. With Him there is no past tense. He is the Omnipresent One. He made this perfectly clear in addressing Himself to Moses.
Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob… [Emphasis added]
Notice that the Lord did not say, “I was the God of Abraham.” He is ever and always the Great I AM! I would also suggest that God should not be considered as futuristic, or becoming more God at some point than He is now.
* Everything that He has ever been, or He ever will be, He is right now!
* Anything that He has ever done, or He will ever do, He can do right now!
No wonder the writer of Hebrews put it so succinctly, and yet, so radiantly…
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.
God came in the flesh to meet our deepest and greatest need salvation. In the words of the songwriter, “He came down to my level, when I couldn’t get up to His. The mystery of godliness can be rightly stated this way… The God of the Old Testament… is the Jesus of the New Testament.
This article was taken from the book Just Braggin on Jesus, By: Robert E. Henson