This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
Sometimes we become so familiar with the story of Christianity that we fail to see the “mystery” of the gospel. Because of our understanding of the basics of the good news, we, if we are not careful, will miss the absolutely amazing truth that salvation is available to people of all nationalities in the world. So, stop for a moment and think about the thing that Paul calls a mystery.
For centuries, the way to be made right with God was to trust in him enough to become a part of the nation of Israel. A person who wanted salvation by grace through faith had to express that faith by performing sacrifices, obeying the Jewish law, and even by being circumcised. For centuries, not just a small time, people who wanted their sins forgiven by God took a trip to Jerusalem to make their sacrifice of an unblemished animal at the temple of God. For centuries, those who wanted grace took part in appointed feasts and observed appropriate holy days and events.
But the old system was not the end. No, the old system was merely a pointer to something more perfect, something complete. God planned to fulfill all righteousness on behalf of his children, because none of his followers, even those with bloody sacrifices at the temple, could ever fulfill all righteousness on their own. God came to earth himself. God sent his Son. Jesus fulfilled and completed the law. The mystery, the amazing secret hidden for centuries, is that Jesus was coming to do what the law, if left to itself, could never do. Jesus came to fully and completely save people from all over the world. People who would never enter Jerusalem or make a sacrifice of an animal, people who would never celebrate a Passover, people who would never think of being circumcised, Jesus would save them. He would not save them through their performance of religious ritual. He would not save them through their obedience to any rule. He would not save them because they outwardly obeyed any law. No, Jesus would save them by God’s grace through faith—a faith which is the gift of God according to Ephesians 2:8. Jesus would save them to the uttermost, regardless of their ethnicity, and write on their hearts the true law of God.
Ponder the mystery. God’s plan was different than any plan man had ever dreamed of. Every world religion makes salvation about being good, fulfilling rituals, and obeying rules. Not God’s mysterious plan. The mystery of God tells us that none of us is good, none of us can obey the rules, no ritual will suffice, no people group has the inside track, but God will do it all for us and has done it all for us in Jesus. This is an amazing secret that God kept to himself from before the dawn of time until he revealed it in Christ. Praise God for a gospel that is beyond anything we could ever dream of. Do not allow your familiarity with “God, Man, Christ, Response” to keep you from realizing that such a plan of salvation is a sweet secret that is beyond anything the world has ever known.