The Unique Mystery of the Gospel
THE UNIQUE MYSTERY OF THE GOSPEL
Most religious organizations have their mysteries by which the common believer is kept in awe of the priesthood or hierarchy. But the bible speaks only of a mystery which has now been revealed, and that mystery is nothing like the mysticism so appealing to the religions of man.
Ephesians 3: 4-5 sums it up: "... as I wrote before in few words, whereby when ye read, ye can perceive my understanding in the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known unto the sons of men, as it hath now been revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; that is, that the Gentiles are fellow-heirs, and fellow-members of the body, and fellow-partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel ..."
This simple revealed mystery spells the difference between true Christianity and all of the other religions of the world. This was put so well by Albert Barnes [Commentary on Ephesians 3.], that we quote it at length:
"The great effort has been made everywhere to show that there was a favored class of men -- a class whom God regarded with peculiar affection, on account of their birth, or rank, or nation, or wealth, or complexion. In one nation there has been a distinction of caste carefully kept up from age to age, and sustained by all the power of the priesthood and the laws ... In another, . .. that the services of an illustrious ancestry made a difference among men, ... In another, complexion has made a difference; and the feeling has insensibly grown up that one class were the favorites of heaven, because they had a skin not colored like others, ... In another, the attempt is made to create such a distinction by wealth; and it is felt that the rich are the favorites of heaven.
"In all these cases there is the secret feeling that in virtue of rank, or blood, or property, one class are the objects of divine interest more than others, and the same plan of salvation is not needed for them which is required for the poor, for the ignorant, and for the slave. The gospel regards all men as on a level; offers the same salvation to all; and offers it on the same terms. This is one of its glories; and for this we should love it. It meets man as he is -- and everywhere a fallen and a ruined being -- and provides a plan adapted to raise all to the glories of the same heaven."
Men do not come by this attitude naturally. This unique doctrine is further evidence of the inspiration of the bible. A failure to practice this simple doctrine is clear evidence that a religious organization is not consistent with the bible.