What is living in the Mystery Times?
The Body of Christ was God’s mystery, the secret that was “hid from ages and generations” (Colossians 1:26) and “which was kept secret since the world began” (Romans 16:25). Prior to this revealing, all of the blessings of God were given to the descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob, who are called the Judeans or Jews. If Gentiles wanted to be a part of the covenant God made with the Judeans, then they needed to become proselytes and convert to Judaism. Even after the day of Pentecost when the first believers were born again, the outpouring of the gift of Holy Spirit was still limited to Judeans who believed that Jesus was the Messiah.
But then during the ministry of the apostle Paul, the mystery was revealed and not only included the Gentiles, but made them an integral part of a totally new entity called the “new man” in Ephesians.
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off [the Gentiles] are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
For he is our peace, who hath made both [Jews and Gentiles] one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, [Gentiles] and to them that were nigh [Jews].
For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
What brought the Jews and Gentiles together was the access to the Father by the same Spirit. No longer was there a distinction between the two groups, but they became “one new man.”
Ephesians 3:6 further clarifies the mystery in a nutshell:
That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel.
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;
Both Jews and Gentiles who are born again are joint-heirs with Christ. The mystery revealed is that both Jews and Gentiles would share fully in the inheritance with Christ. This first phrase emphasizes that the Church is a family with God as their Father and with all the rights and privileges of sons.
The Gentiles are “of the same body” as whom?
So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and everyone members one of another.
We are of the same Body with Christ. It is Christ’s Body. The mystery revealed is that both Jews and Gentiles are inseparably linked with Christ as a unified whole, functioning together with him as the head. This is the second illustration used of the Church, that we are a Body. It portrays how we practically live in our relationship with each other and with God and with Christ.
The Gentiles are “partakers” with whom?
I Corinthians 10:16b, 17:
…the bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
For we being many are one bread, and one body; for we are all partakers of that one bread.
The “one bread” represents Christ’s flesh and all that he accomplished in his flesh. We are partakers with Christ and all that he accomplished. This is being identified with Christ.
Romans 6:3, 4:
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
That means that when he died, we died with him. When he arose, we arose with him. The mystery revealed is that we have a full sharing in all that Christ accomplished and the salvation he made available.
In Ephesians 3:6 the word “partakers” is summetochos and according to Moulton-Milligan, this Greek word was used in the business documents called papyri in the sense of a joint ownership, “joint possessors of a house.” The holding we have in joint ownership is the gift of the full measure of the Spirit and by that we are partakers of Christ.
But what is the “house” of which we are “joint-possessors”? This is explained in Ephesians that we are the temple of God and his habitation.
…Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord:
In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
For we are made partakers of Christ…
…and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
We are partakers of God’s habitation in Christ by the Spirit. This dwelling place of God is where we are seated (Ephesians 2:6). All the power and rest which was made available in Christ is ours together with him by way of the Spirit. The intimate fellowship and worship of God is ours also. This is being partakers of his promise in Christ.