CCVI. The Mysteriousness of Religion.

EPH. v. 32.
“This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ
and the Church.”

THERE is a frankness of confession in these words of the
apostle which deserves the being imitated as well as
admired; for we shall never gain advantage for the
Gospel by representing it as less mysterious than it ac-
tually is.
The mysteries of our faith are such as the lamp of
reason cannot irradiate, and the light of reason cannot
fathom.
I. The mystery of Christ as born of a pure virgin. The
incarnation of the Son of God is not one of those facts
which lose their mysteriousness through being examined.
The more we consider, the more must we be amazed. That
the babe weeping in its cradle should be God; the God
filling immensity and sustaining whatsoever exists should
be the babe—who will undertake to explain this? There
is much also in the Redeemer’s work which passes our un-
derstanding. The fact that God so loved the world as to
give His only begotten Son for its deliverance, is one of
exceeding mystery.
II. The mystery of the Church’s union with Christ.
It would hardly have been expected that through such
a system as the Christian, there should be produced in be-
lievers that holiness without which there can be nothing of
the oneness between Christ and His Church which is typi-
fied in this passage by marriage. Those who preach as the
alone mode of salvation the resting wholly on the mercies
of another, are sometimes regarded as advancing a tenet
which strikes at the root of all moral energy. Christ’s
salvation was gratuitous, but the very gratuitousness was
to generate holiness. We glory in the truth, whilst we
acknowledge its wonderfulness.
“Now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to
face.” The difficulties of Scripture may be made plain to
us in heaven, and therefore they are the pledges to us of
a mighty enlargement of our faculties. Lay it down as
a maxim that when discourse turns on Christ and the
Church, there will often be truths of which it can only be
said, “It is a great mystery.” Believe, where you may be
unable to explain.
Hugh Macmillan, D.D.

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