“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, since you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward, how that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery.”
Building upon the certification of the unity of the body of Christ to the brethren in Ephesus, Paul assures the called out assembly that this is not a new religion but indeed that which was from the beginning. The child of grace can never be made one with the children of the flesh but every child of God is eternally one in the Father. There is no distinction between the body for it is all unified as one in Him yet God Himself has put separation between every man. He separated Eve from Adam, Cain from Abel, and Esau from Jacob just as He separated the light from darkness and the dry land form the sea. This is the work which God has done from the beginning and no man can change it for just as what God has brought together no man can separate so what God has separated no man can join together.
The gospel of the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah is the power of God to deliver His people, which are the eternal incorruptible seed, from their inability in Adam. He delivered all whom He foreknew from everything He has ordained that should come to pass. He created man incapable of keeping His commandments or understanding His ways therefore he was not obedient in the garden. He also predestinated each of His children to be conformed to the image of His Son in that they learn obedience through all that they suffer; thus they are made like the son through the contradiction of sin against themselves, just as He was made perfect.
The mystery of this gospel is the unity of every separation that the arrogance of man disallows. The precious stones, which are hewn from that great Rock, which is Anointed, are disallowed just as the Jesus was disallowed by the nation of Israel. He is the chief of the corner of the foundation of the Temple of Yehovah upon whom all the members are fitly framed together, growing up unto the Holy habitation of God. Since, therefore, the foundation is unsuitable for the mind and purposes of Adam so also are each and every one of the members in particular,. These are all hated of all men for the sake of the name of Jesus, every man in his order. Paul was preaching the comfort of the immutability of God and the unity of His body and now this mystery was manifested.
Paul continues this precious doctrine of unity when he tells the brethren that he was ‘bound unto’ or ‘knit together’ in Jesus Christ. He was not deprived of his liberty and incarcerated under suspicion of violating some code, standard or law, as is the concept of a prisoner, but rather he was joined unto Messiah. His life was intertwined in the purpose of God as the weaving of a tapestry and his inner man was joined in the Godhead; therefore the ‘administration of the family business’ (dispensation) was of the grace of God, given Paul, for them, who are “fellow heirs and of the same body and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel” (3:6).
This grace was delivered unto this chosen vessel not by studying, teaching, meditation or any other method which involves the abilities and characteristics of man (Saul of Tarsus had been to all of these places but to no avail). God ‘disclosed the truth’ (revealed) Himself to His servant in a manner that could not be explained by the natural mind. He brought him to that point along the road to Damascus where Yehovah God had afore ordained to meet him and reveal the fact that Almighty God was dwelling within him. This was specific unto Saul of Tarsus and while those around saw the light, yet they heard nothing of the conversation nor saw the truth. God had personally come to His elect servant, chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, and delivered him from darkness.
Everything which Saul thought he knew and on which he placed his confidence was completely eradicated. His Zionistic opinions about the nation of Israel were abandoned by the beauty of the Israel of our God. His extensive education and training, which were ordained of God for good, had become useless and reprobate unto Him. The righteousness which he found in the law and the derivations that man had made of it was shown to him to be a testimony of condemnation for when the commandment came and sin revived, Saul died. The light of the glory of God had ‘made naked and bare’ the corruption of man, the foolishness of his ways and the abomination of his philosophy and religion; “immediately I did not confer with flesh and blood, neither did I go up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles but I went to Arabia and returned again unto Damascus” (Gal. 1:16).
“For we have not followed after cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye witnesses of His majesty” (II Pt. 1:16)
Paul was not given to take the oral history of the nation of Israel and expound it unto the teachings of Jesus and he did not rely upon the stories of the elders as proof of what he believed. He understood that the Spirit of the Most High God teaches His children all things that pertain unto life and godliness and there was no need for the elaborate educational structure that he had grown up under. His authority for the Word he was preaching did not come from an institute of higher learning nor was he schooled at the feet of the other Apostles in Jerusalem. The Word of God came to him by revelation and, opening his eyes, he saw and understood both the power of God unto salvation and the mystery which had been hid of God. Thus the Spirit brought him to this assembly to instruct them not from tradition or from ‘cunningly devised fables’ but according to the grace of God given to him for the nations.
The natural tendencies of man are to seek after change. Each son of Adam is given to incorporate his natural growth and maturity with the drive for advancement in a world and environment where nothing changes. His labours and endeavours which are strides made for his sustenance and continuance are also undertook for the praise of others and the advancement in society. Man is therefore constantly seeking to tell or hear something new (Acts 17:21) whether it be in science, philosophy or religion and his convictions are augmented accordingly.
Peter encountered this problem when his authority was called into question. He confirmed his authority by the truth of the Word he spoke and added that he was indeed an eye witness upon the mount when the voice came from heaven and bore witness to the Sonship of Messiah. He said this not to bring praise to himself but rather to appease the fears and doubts in the minds of the hearers. So also, Paul presented to the church that his message was not an ecumenical attempt to make converts for Judaism nor a new wave approach to morality, social change or personal growth. His message was given to him by the power of God which had removed the blindness of arrogance through ignorance from his eyes and caused him to see the truth in the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah.
The world continues to run after every form of doctrine that the mind of man can contrive especially if there is a vision or something special which accompanies the speaker. Some have said that they spoke with the Angel of the Lord; others avow they had a vision and even more attempt to achieve their form of peace in this world without controversy or argument. The mantra of ‘peaceful coexistence’ is the religion of the day as the mind of man is tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine but the peace which passes all understanding is not to be found in the promises of these cunningly devised fables.
“How that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery”
Saul of Tarsus was taken by the Spirit of God into a place where the natural man does not exist and shown things which he was incapable of expressing because they are not of his being. He saw the beauty of the holiness of God as the glory of the Salvation of Yehovah was made clear to him. He knew that they are not all Israel who are of Israel and that the outward pageantry of the traditions of man cannot justify the sinful way of man. He had been schooled in the writings of man, read the ancient scrolls and sat at the feet of Gamaliel (my recompenser is God) and while by the grace of God all these were necessary for the preparation of this vessel unto the work God had assigned unto him, yet they were useless before the righteous judgment of God.
The word of comfort to the church was that Almighty God had sent this lowly servant to His people to guide them along the way. He had properly equipped this chosen vessel with the witness of the truth, confirmed with signs and wonders. The veracity of the message was manifested in the simplicity of the word not to the glory of the speaker but unto the experience of the common salvation of the hearers. If the message of this or anyone did not ring true to the like precious faith and the groaning of the warfare within, then there would be no comfort to those who wrestle daily against principalities and powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places and against every thought and imagination which exalts itself against the knowledge of God. Thus Paul speaks to the unity of the body in Him, the unity of the experience of grace and the unity of the daily walk in the lives of the pilgrims and sojourners en route to Zion.
Paul did not glory in his message nor did he boast in his schooling. Rather the Lord had ordained a messenger of Satan to attend to this servant, a thorn in the flesh, “lest I should be exalted above measure” (II Cor. 12:7). God had given him not only the wonders of His truth and a ministry unto the nations of the world but He also gave him a daily reminder of the struggle between the law in his mind and the law in his members. This reminder was confirmed by the disclosure of the emptiness of this world which he and every child of the Kingdom have been made subject to for which the Spirit within groans, awaiting deliverance. But this reminder is not for crimes committed or for the sins of the fathers for God has given each of His beloved ones this manifestation of love as they wander through the barren wilderness of this world.
The mystery had been hid yet it still existed from the beginning. Paul did not come with a new doctrine or an adaptation of the old. He came to explain that Able was not a Jew, nor was Abram, Isaac or Jacob but the promise was unto them by grace. He came not to lay a burden upon these believers in Christ but to explain the liberty that the Spirit had revealed unto them. He came to make an open disclosure of the beauty of the Bride of the Beloved as she stands in Him without the blemish and pollution of Adam. He made an open shew of his infirmities as proof of the grace of God to one has unworthy as himself as he placed his lot beneath that of a Gentile for he persecuted the church of Jesus Christ. Therefore he took pleasure in his infirmities, in reproached, in necessities, in persecutions and in distress for the sake of the Anointing “for when I am weak, the am I strong” (II Cor. 12:10).
“Then Jonathan and David made a covenant because he loved him as his own soul” (I Sam. 18:3).
The story of Jonathan and David is much more than the bond between two men who walked beside each other along the path of life; it is the beauty of the gospel. Jonathan was the son of Saul of Kish and the heir apparent to the throne of Israel while David was a sheep herder from Judah. God had revealed unto these men the testimony of His presence within as the fruit of the Spirit was manifested one for another. The second commandment, which is like unto the first, is that you love one another and that love, wherein Jonathan loved David as his own soul, was made evident to these two children of grace.
Saul (desire) was the people’s choice for king. They had rejected Yehovah God as they desired to be like the other nations of the world (I Sam. 8:7). They had refused His counsel by the hand of the prophet and they had denounced the cornerstone of the foundation; thus God gave them the desire of their hearts and sent leanness into their souls in the demonstration of the natural man’s deficiencies and sin.
Jonathan is ‘given of Yehovah’. He was given to Saul as the false hope of the perpetuity of his reign even though Jacob had pronounced years earlier, that “the sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh come and unto Him shall be the gathering of the people” (Gen. 49:10). But he was also given as a testimony of the love of God unto David.
David is the ‘Beloved’. He is the king who has fought all the battles and has placed all his enemies under his footstool as he has overcome the world. He is God’s chosen king over Israel and he follows after Him with all his heart, with all his mind and with all his strength as enabled by the power of God. It is to him that God has given a testimony of the reality of his experience for ofttimes David is seen fleeing in fear and wondering why King Saul desires to kill him.
The desire of the people of the seed of Adam is for sustenance and pleasure; “and when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was pleasant to the eyes and a tree to be desired to make wise, she took and did eat and gave also to her husband with her and he did eat” (Gen. 3:6). But this desire is unto that which cannot sustain and indeed when the knowledge of good and evil was manifested in them both, they saw that they were naked before the Lord. Their blindness of ignorance was removed and they saw their rebellion and guilt before the commandment of God. They knew they were in need of something and being the creation of God they sought to be like Him. Therefore they fashioned their own form of the atonement (covering) from the leaves of the trees of the garden.
Adam’s defense for his actions was to blame God for the woman which God gave him (Jonathan – given of God) did give to him and he did eat. God had given him a helper that was suitable for the labours he was assigned. God had ordained that by the single deed of one man sin should enter into the world and death by sin and therefore the woman was beguiled by the serpent, through his subtilty, and was corrupted from the simplicity of the truth of the gospel. She became the constant reminder that he had fallen in ignorance from the place that God had prepared for him; “and unto Adam He said, Because you have hearkened unto the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you saying, You shall not eat of it: cursed is the ground for your sake; in sorrow you shall eat of it all the days of your life” (Gen. 3:17). This is the natural reminder to all mankind of the corruption of the body of this death.
Jonathan was given unto the Beloved as a reminder that the ruling desire of the people seeks to kill the redeemed of the Lord. The flesh lusts against and is diametrically opposed to the things of the Kingdom of God. This is manifested in the wrestling of the perishing outward man and the law in the members against the inward man who delights after the law of God. The warfare is engaged as the natural man continues that which was begun in the garden; he desires to be like unto God and his daily endeavour is the demonstration of his worth before God. He can not be like God for he is the creation of God and he has no worth unto God for Yehovah is complete in Himself. All things proceed from Him and without Him was nothing made that was made. Nothing can be greater than the source who is Alpha and nothing can add anything to He who is all in all; Yehovah of Hosts is His name.
“But you shall not only, while I am yet alive, shew me the kindness of Yehovah that is do not die, but you shall not cut off your kindness from my house for ever: no, not when Yehovah has cut off the enemies of David, everyone from the face of the earth” (I Sam. 20:15).
The covenant between that which is given of Yehovah and the Beloved is as eternal as the bond between them. They are one in the Beloved and nothing can separate them from the love of God, neither can anything come between the love which caused them to consider each other greater than themselves. The mercy and compassion of the Beloved of the Lord is unto all whom the Father has given Him and they love Him because He first loved them. He gave His life for the remnant according to grace in demonstration of perfect love as He fulfilled the Law of God and abrogated the types and foreshadows of the hand-writing of ordinances; “God commended His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rms. 5:8). In Him the Beloved keep the commandments of God both in the keeping of His statutes and precepts and in the love, one for another.
The covenant between Jonathan and David was not for glory of man. The son of Jonathan was undesirable in the community for he was lame. He could not provide for himself and no one would shew him pity for he was of the fallen family. Certainly if the Lord had found goodness in Saul, his grandson would not have been stricken as he was in demonstration of God’s displeasure. This is the same mindset that the disciples demonstrated when they asked the Lord, saying, “Master, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2) and the same attitude persists today in the hearts and minds of the natural man.
The covenant between the Beloved and those given of the Lord is for the mercy of God unto they who are undeserving of His love and yet hated of all men for His name sake. It is as eternal as their love and therefore the Apostle Paul told the church at Ephesus;
“Wherefore I was mad ea minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of His power”
The preaching of the power of God unto deliverance must be both of the work of God as He reveals Himself to His people and that from which they were delivered. The corruption and hatred of the flesh against the inward spiritual man is the experience which every child, born from above, is engaged in and for which the creature within groans awaiting deliverance. Peter said that the testimony of the gospel was both the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the hope of glory that resides in the hearts and minds of the redeemed of the Lord and while the tabernacle of this dwelling strives to extend his life and improve his quality of living, the earnest expectation of the inner man is to be delivered from the body of this death.
Grace is given of Yehovah (Jonathan) for those for whom the blood of the Lamb was shed before the foundation of the world (Beloved) to explain to them why they are thus. This grace teaches them that the ruling desire of the flesh (Saul) is the inveterate enemy of the Beloved but even he was created as the servant of the household of faith; “for the elder shall serve the younger”
“that I should preach among the nations the unsearchable riches of Christ”
Man cannot form the words nor can the natural man receive the things of the Spirit but His Spirit bears witness with our Spirit in the sweet fellowship of the mystery of the gospel, with all wisdom and spiritual understanding. This is why the Spirit teaches His children all things pertaining unto godliness and leads His people in all truth.
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
July 7, 2016