- Published: 30 August 2010
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The mystery of Christ begins with
Gen. 1:1 where He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth. In the third chapter He is the promised seed and the one who would utterly crush the head of the serpent. And as we go through the Word of God, we see the mystery unfolded step by step. Finally we see Him as King of kings and Lord of lords in Rev. 19:16.
In this brief glance, we have not included the epistles of Paul written after Acts 28:28, nor the gospel of John which belongs to the same period. In John we begin to see some things not before revealed. By Him came grace and truth. He had a glory as of the only Begotten. True spiritual worship was also introduced, leaving behind temple, priest, and ritual.
But it is in the prison epistles of Paul that we find the highest revelation of the glories of Christ. And it takes these revelations to complete the mystery of Christ. Or we might say, that it takes the dispensation of the mystery to complete the mystery of Christ. Let us examine it.
In 1:22,23 we find the words, Church which is His body, the fullness of Him. Bodies had been known before, but none which could be said to be the fullness of Him. This is the church of the dispensation of the mystery, something that had been hid in God from ages and generations.
This church is the fullness of Him who is the Filler, One who fills up all the members with all spiritual gifts and graces. He has ascended far above all the heavens in order that He might fill all things. The Father set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named. This ascension far above all things was essential so that He could fill all things.
When John made note of the fact of the glory of Christ, he also mentioned that of this fullness all had received, that is, believers. But in the church of the mystery, we have a higher plane: It is the fullness of the Christ. And we learn more of the fullness of Christ from Paul. In Him dwells all the fullness of the godhead bodily and the church is filled to the full in Him who is the Head of all principality and power. It is on resurrection ground that this fullness dwells in Him bodily. That is how it dwells.
Now it was necessary that there be a bodily manifestation of God who had never been seen by the eye of man. So the only Begotten Son declared God as Father. That was the office of the Word. A word declares or tells something.
This manifestation was in the nature of a mediator ship, a link between the invisible God and man. Christ is the express image of the invisible God. He who has seen Him has seen the Father. And today we read of the Son and His glories, and see the Father.
The church members are said to be complete or filled to the full in Him. And He is Head, not only of the church, but of principality and power. This headship is revealed as the mystery of God's will.
So the church which is the body of Christ is the fullness of the unseen Christ. It was created as one new man. It is an object of His care in ages to come.