Paul did not try to use impressive words that showed great wisdom (2:1-4). But there was great wisdom in his words, although most people in the present age would not recognise that wisdom. That is why Paul called that wisdom a mystery, in other words, a secret. God had sent Paul to declare that secret knowledge, in public. And still people could not understand it.
Paulís mystery is about what true greatness really is. True greatness is called glory; it belongs to God alone. The mystery is that, at a future time, God has a plan to share his glory with all his people (1 Corinthians 15:51-52; Colossians 1:26-27; Romans 8:18-19). Now Godís people are separate; but God will do this for them all at the same moment (Ephesians 3:6; Hebrews 11:40; Romans 11:25). It is like a marriage (Ephesians 5:25-27). God is the bridegroom and his people are his bride. That is how they will share his glory (Revelation 21:2-3). For example, if even a poor woman marries a great king, she becomes queen. She shares his greatness; in other words, she will receive great honour Ė but only because of that kingís importance. So Godís people will receive great honour because of their relationship with God.
The powerful people in this world wanted that glory (true greatness) for themselves. But their greatness cannot last. Their importance belongs only to the present age. Such people do not understand what greatness really is. If they had understood it, they would not have allowed Christ to die in such a shameful manner. They would have realised who Christ is: their master and the only God (Philippians 2:10-11). They would have known that true greatness can only come from him. They would have given him the honour that he alone deserves.
But Godís people can only share his glory because Christ suffered that shameful death. There could be no greater act of love. He suffered the punishment for their evil deeds, so that they can share his glory (Ephesians 5:25).
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© 2014, Keith Simons.