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Heaven & Nature See

“Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:
He was manifested in the flesh,
Vindicated by the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Proclaimed among the nations,
Believed on in the world,
Taken up in glory.”

1 Timothy 3:16

This verse is an early Christian hymn or short creed that refers to the gospel. Here, Paul uses the word “mystery” because, in the past, the gospel was hidden but is now revealed, beginning with Christmas, for all of heaven and nature to see. So how does this connect to the rest of 1 Timothy?

In 1 Timothy 3:14-15, Paul revealed his central purpose for writing this letter:

“I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things [what he wrote in 1 Timothy 2:1 - 3:13] to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.”

Then in verse 16, Paul celebrates the source of the very truth-loving, doctrine-guarding godliness he is calling for in his letter: Jesus.

Paul calls this hymn the “mystery of godliness” because it’s the revealed plan of God, fulfilled in Jesus, which provokes and provides the response of godliness. We tend to think of godliness as “goodness”, being upright and nice people, but true godliness is a thriving relationship with God based on what He has done. Obedience to God that starts with recognizing who He is and what He’s done. 

What this means is that Advent can be fuel for faith in a challenging world.

The world, and us with it, is broken. And despite our best attempts to repair it, relieve it, or find refuge from it, we all suffer. But if we will look to Jesus with the eyes of faith - seeing His willingness to become one of us and live the perfection we couldn’t, His powerful resurrection, the witness of His angels, the unstoppable spread of His fame, the global trust He garners, and the fact of His heavenly rule - we, along with all of heaven and nature, will see His goodness and be empowered to live by faith in Him. 

Are you certain of your acceptance by Him? Are you ready to face another day with hope and in obedience to God? You can be, if you’ll keep your eyes in the Word as you live in the world.
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