“that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ“
The fourth line of defense against a challenge to Christianity is “knowledge of the mystery of God.”
“to the knowledge of the mystery of God”
The fourth and final defense of the Christian life in this passage is “knowledge of the mystery of God.” If the Christian understands the unique prerogatives and privileges of his position in Christ, he will develop poise in his Christian life.
What is “the mystery of God?” The mystery of God is all truth that Jesus provided for the church (Eph. 3:1-6; Rom. 16:25-26; Col. 1:25,26). This is a truth not revealed in the Old Testament.
The word “mystery” does not carry the idea of something spooky. It does not mean that it is obscure to us but truth not hitherto revealed. The truth of the church was not revealed in the Old Testament. This truth is not pertinent to how Old Testament believers lived their lives before God.
The New Testament believer is in union with Jesus Christ. He or she enjoys prerogatives peculiar to that position. Every believer in the church is indwelt both by Christ and the Holy Spirit. This was not true in the Old Testament. In the church every believer is a priest; in the Old Testament only a few were priests. Every believer is his own priest and can go directly to God to satisfy his needs. He is spiritually self sustaining; he does not need to depend on others in authority.
The word “knowledge” describes the underlying principles of the Word of God, in this case a specific principle — “the mystery of God.” “Knowledge” is the construction material that forms the basis for the edification construct of the believer’s stability. It is the power to apprehend truth so that we can correctly grasp the issues faced in life. The corrective for distortion of truth is additional knowledge of Christ.
The mystery of God is not hidden from us but for us. The mystery is Christ himself (1:27). The believer clearly understands that prerogatives and privileges of the Christian life come from Christ and not self. Our rights before God are because of Christ. Therefore, we can be assured of those rights.
“both of the Father and of Christ”
Many modern texts read “even Christ.” That is, the mystery is all about Christ and what he did upon the cross in making special privileges for the believer.
If our knowledge grows into a certain understanding of the mystery of the Father and Christ, then our soul will prosper.
We are what we eat, physically; we are what we read, mentally and we are what we believe, spiritually. Paul wants us to assimilate the riches of his truth to the full. He wants us to know all the ramifications and implications of it.
God has made all the provisions necessary for the Christian life in Christ by grace. If we understand that, we grasp “the mystery.” It is crucial to understand positional truth. Positional truth is our status before God eternally in Christ. We hold a perfect status before God. The only thing that will give us ultimate poise is our understanding of our rights before God in Christ.