Dr. Jay Worth Allen
“ . . . great is the mystery of godliness”
(1 Timothy 3:16).
Godliness is godlikeness. Great is the mystery of being like God. These characteristics and traits are the characteristics and traits of God. God wants us to be like Him.
In 1 Timothy, Paul addresses the qualifications for Elders and Deacons in the Church. Paul had left Timothy in Ephesus to strengthen the Church. It is to Timothy that Paul is writing and instructing him in the government of the Church.
“I want you to know how you ought to behave yourself in the house of God” (1 Timothy 3:14-15).
A man who is an Elder or an Overseer in the Church is, in reality, one of God’s representatives. And this office carries with it the most awesome responsibility of being like God - Godlikeness. God wants His leaders to be like Him so that as people look at them, they can better understand what God is about. And that, in some cases, is all the understanding many people will ever have of God - what they observe in the life of God’s leaders.
Each child of God is God’s representative. But those who take the position of an Elder or an Overseer have a greater responsibility. And God doesn’t take lightly how they represent Him.
James warns us: “be not many teachers, knowing that we shall receive the greater judgment” (James 3:1). The Lord cautioned, “to whom much is given, much is required” (Luke 12:48). So, for those in the position of Overseeing, there is a tighter standard by which they must live. “Blameless, of good reputation” - inside and outside the Church.
It is a tragedy when an Overseer doesn’t take his responsibility seriously. Because he, “falls into reproach and the snare of the devil” (1 Timothy 3:7).
Satan definitely seeks to snare ministers. To trap them. To bring reproach upon the Gospel. As Nathan said to David concerning his sin with Bathsheba, “You’ve caused the enemies of God to blaspheme” (2 Samuel 12:14). Satan works harder on those who have a greater influence than those of lesser influence. The more the Lord uses someone, greater are the temptations the enemy places in their path.
Great is the mystery of being like God. God wants us, all His children, to be like Him. That’s His purpose in creating us. And when He created us, He created us like Him, “in His image and after His likeness.” It was the purpose of God that we’d be like Him.
Great. But what is God like?
God is love. So love must dominate our being. God is pure. God is holy. He wants us to be pure. He wants us to be holy. God is kind. God is compassionate. God is patient. He wants us to be kind, compassionate, patient. He wants His children to be like Him. Great is the mystery of being like God.
All of us shout, “Yes! I want to be like God.” But how that is accomplished, is another thing, indeed.
Being like God is the greatest thing that could possibly happen to a person. So, as His obedient children, we try to be like God. But we find that whenever we try to be like God, there are other forces at work within us, hindering us from our goals.
Paul was there in Romans 7, “I consent to the law of God that it is good. But I find that there is another law at work within my members, within my body. And the good that I would, I do not: and that which I would not, I do” (Romans 7:16,19,23).
We all consent (approve) to that which is good. But how to perform it . . . we just can’t find. We consent to what is right, what is good. We know what we ought to be doing. But how to perform it? That’s where the problem lies. So we cry out, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death” (Romans 7:24)?
And we are comforted in, “There is therefore, now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). And we sigh a great sigh of relief because that great mystery has been solved. It was solved in the incarnation - “without controversy, great is this mystery of godliness.” God solved the mystery of Godlikeness through the incarnation of Jesus Christ for, “God was manifest in the flesh” - a clear declaration that Jesus Christ is God. “God was manifest in the flesh.” The purpose of the incarnation was to bring man to a Godlikeness: To help us, Pastors, Teachers, Elders, Deacons, and all the rest, to be like God.
“Without Controversy, great is the mystery of godliness . . . God was manifest in the flesh.”
Published: 20 June 2011 on Freed In Christ! blogsite.
Published: 19 May 2011 in FAITH Column of The County Journal.
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© 2012 dr. jay & miss diana
all rights reserved