1 TIM. iii. 16. “And without controversy, great is the mystery of
godliness: God was manifest in the flesh.”
WITHOUT doubt Paul here points to Jesus Christ. We
may develop the teaching of this text by a series of state-
ments embodying the fact here declared.
I. Jesus Christ was flesh—a real man.
Some have said His body was a phantom; others have
said He had no human soul. Both doctrines are untrue.
II. Jesus Christ was God manifest in the flesh.
He is not a godly man, but God-man; a double life—
higher and lower, as indicated by many circumstances
from Bethlehem to Olivet, and from Olivet to the Great
III. That Jesus Christ is God manifest in the flesh is
a profound mystery.
The fact is stated, but the explanation is withheld.
After reading, inquiry, controversy, preaching, and creed-
making, the God-man remains a mystery still.
IV. This mystery is great.
Not a sham and a trick, not puerile and ridiculous, not
useless and injurious as the mysteries of the ancient heathen
and of corrupt Churches, but real and magnificent, momen-
tous, solemn, and blessed in intent.
V. This great mystery is the mystery of Godliness.
The mysterious fact is God’s means of working Godliness
in us, and our means of working Godliness to ourselves.
VI. Great is the mystery of Godliness without con-
troversy. There is no hope for unity in Christ’s Church
until mysteries are left as mysteries.
The lessons taught are these:—
1. To be Godly we must respond to God manifest.
2. To receive God manifest we must bow to mystery.
3. If we have received this mystery let us prove our
reception of it by our manifest walk with God.