Detective stories intrigue us. The best ones rattle our brain cells. “Who done it” mysteries keep everyone guessing. When you discover it was the butler, the mystery is no longer a mystery, and you say, “Should have seen it coming.”
Not so the mystery of the gospel. It remains a mystery even after disclosed. It overwhelms our senses. There is nothing intuitive about the gospel. We don’t say after it is revealed, “Of course, I should have thought of it. How stupid of me.” We marvel at the grace of God that goes way beyond our thinking. It astounds us, humbles us, and causes us to praise God for the glorious work of redemption.
If a thousand people wrote a gospel story, no one would have come up with the divine plan. That is the mystery of it. We never come to the place where we can say, “Okay, now I get it.” We will marvel for all eternity, as Paul writes, “that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7). The universe contains no measuring stick to calculate the greatness and majesty of God made known through Jesus Christ.
Paul is often tripping over superlatives, attempting to communicate what God has revealed to him and not finding the words to express it. That is mystery. He gives praise to the one who can do “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or imagine” (3:20). We are given the awesome privilege of taking part in that which is too wonderful to be packaged in words.
Isaiah describes in poetic language the infinite power and wisdom of God: “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord or as his counselor has instructed him?” (40:12, 13). Does God employ advisors, people with advanced degrees, who can help Him with the intricacies of inner and outer space? Paul quotes Isaiah, then adds this short phrase, “But we have the mind of Christ” (I Cor. 2:16).
Astonishing. He has just described the intricacies of our world, vaster than imagining and far beyond comprehension. Then he says in effect, “But we can think like God thinks. We have been given the mind of His Son, enabling us to think the unthinkable, know the unknowable, search out the unsearchable, touch the untouchable, and perceive the imperceptible.” That is mystery, and it remains so for all eternity. Ten millions years into eternity, and we will still be singing of the glorious mystery of God’s love made known through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.
The mystery has not been solved. The secret, having been disclosed, still remains a secret. No one knows the love of God unless drawn by Jesus. No one thinks his way into salvation or says, “Now I get it.” We never fully get it! Revelation goes far beyond reason. Without the Spirit of God we cannot know or understand the things of God. Think about it! On second thought, praise Him for what is way beyond our thinking!