The Mystery of God
Wednesday, March 10, 2010

 

“Upon this Rock, I will build My Church.” (Matt. 16:18)

                Often we take that which is most mysterious, attempt to remove its mystery, and thus make that which is most mysterious as common as other things and events in our lives.  Often in pre-marriage counseling I urge the people to keep the mystery alive; to keep the holy, holy; and not to let that which is special lapse into a dullness of commonality.  In Ezekiel’s prophecy, he accused the priest of making the holy common.  They were taking the precious and mysterious things of God and treating them as unholy instruments in the world.  That is what happened to Nadab and Abihu.  After all God had gone through to establish the ordination of the second generation of priests, they already were making the mystery common.  And who can forget Uzzah the Koathite.  When David was bringing the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem, it started to fall into the mud and Uzzah tried to stop its fall.  And when he touched the Ark, God killed him instantly.  You see, Uzzah and the other Koathites were charged with the proper keeping of the Ark according to God’s specific instructions.  Uzzah and his cohorts ignored the instruction of God and “did it their way.”  They tried to make common the great mystery of God.

                The Scriptures abound with stories of God’s people attempting to make routine the very great mysteries of God.  And we still do that today.  One of the ways that we do this is the way we view the Church.  People attend church because of what it can do for them.  Others are part of the Church so that they can do God’s work in the world.  And in all this we fail to see there is something far more profound about the church.  It was not established to serve us; nor was it established to be served by us.  The Church of Jesus Christ is His Body, broken and slain, resurrected and glorified.  The moment we separate the church into buildings, time slots, places of action, or places of comfort, we strip it of its profound mystery and make it common.  We become the modern Uzzahs and Abihus. 

                Eugene Peterson puts it so well in his latest book, Practice Resurrection.  He said, “We think wrongly if we consider church in terms of what it does for us, or (and this is perhaps even worse) in terms of what we can do for it.  As long as we think of church in those terms, we will evaluate it in terms of how it meets our self-identified needs, or in terms of how it needs us and how we can help out.  In the process we cut ourselves off from our intricate and rich pre-history in Israel.”  Or as I believe, we have tried so hard to make the Church like either a hospital or a business, that we have stripped Her of her glorious purpose on earth.

                The Church is God’s mystery planned from the beginning to be the Living Body of His Son, empowered by the Holy Spirit, alive, dynamic, and a force against evil.  It is God’s offensive weapon, it is God’s presence among us, it is most of all God’s mystery.  The world thinks it can suppress God’s church, but every time it does, it becomes more powerful and forceful than ever.  Let us never forget that the Great Persecution of the third and forth centuries was only 11 years prior to the Church becoming the official Roman religion.  The Protestant Reformation came in the midst of the dark ages (and was instrument in pulling the world into the light).  The great evangelistic movement of the 20th Century immediately succeeded the slaughter of Jews and Russians of World War II.  The Church is the unconquerable force of God in the world and the gates of hell cannot withstand it.

                Let us protect the mystery in the Church.  Let us not try to understand how it works and why God has chosen it.  Let us become part of the body, a building block upon which God will add to its eternal structure.  Let us celebrate its hope, its power, and its eternal nature.  Let us be, in our generation, part of the mysterious goodness of God moving against the gates of hell.


Kingdom Road Ministries
PO Box 503
10 South Main, Suite 201
Victor, ID 83455
903-262-5088
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