Summary: God foreordained Jesus’ crucifixion before the beginning of creation.
Before the Beginning
God created a plan and kept it a mystery, which was foreordained before the world was created and then kept secret for thousands of years until the cross (Jesus and Him crucified)(1 Cor 2:7).
God’s mystery (plan), which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: (Col 1:26)
In the beginning God created (Gen 1:1). God existed before the creation of the earth. The world did not happen by chance. The Bible tells us that God actually had a plan in place for this creation prior to Him creating it.
In the book of Corinthians Paul says he speaks the wisdom (plan) of God in a mystery, which was foreordained before the world was created and then kept secret for thousands of years until the cross (Jesus and Him crucified). Paul goes on to say that if God had not kept it a secret the human rulers (and Satan) would have tried to spoil God’s plan by not crucifying Jesus (1 Cor 2:7-8).
This is a key thought in the understanding of the doctrines of the “free will” of man and the “sovereignty” of God and how they co-exist. God’s plan of Jesus’ crucifixion was put in place (foreordained) before the world was created. Because of the foreknowledge of God, He foreknew of the evil activities of Satan and put a plan in place to defeat him.
The Bible teaches that God is all-knowing and knows of every event, past, present, and future. Nothing surprises God. The Bible says that this plan (mystery) of God that had been hide for ages is now revealed to the Saints (Col 1:26).
There are more than twenty verses in the New Testament that contain the word mystery and focus upon the specific person and work of Jesus Christ.
In Romans Paul references this mystery as he praises (God) as the one who has the power to establish us according to the mystery that was kept secret before the world was created (Rom 16:25). Paul continues that thought in Colossians when he prays that we the followers of Christ might be comforted, knit together in love, and have a full assurance of understanding the mystery of God (Col 2:2).
This is the first sermon in a series attempting to explain the “mystery of God.” As we move through this study, I want us to have the same focus as Paul when he states I desire to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him Crucified (1 Cor2:2). This is the heart of the mystery of God, however as we seek to understand this mystery it will shed new light on many, if not all, of the key Christian doctrines.
In the study of God’s mystery, we get exposed to some key theological issues such as the paradox of sovereignty of God and the freedom of man. This is not a new issue and has been debated since the reformation. Two of the most famous men to address this issue are John Calvin and Jacob Hermann (Arminus). These two will be discussed more shortly.
In Corinthians we saw that God foreordained Jesus’ crucifixion before He created the world. He foreknew that if He had not Satan and the human rulers would have used their God granted freedom to have prohibited Jesus’ crucifixion.
Peter echoes Paul when he says that Jesus’ crucifixion was foreordained before the foundation of the world but now has been revealed (1 Peter 1:19-20). These two verses about God’s foreordination (His plan) and the need to keep it secret from Satan and man because of their ability (their freedom) to try to defeat His plan magnify our need to wrestle with the understanding of how God’s sovereignty, foreknowledge, foreordination, and man’s freedom mesh.
God’s sovereignty is absolute. He has the power to do anything at any moment He chooses. Yet He has chosen to limit the use of this absolute power by delegating certain freedom to man. This freedom is sometimes referred too as the “freewill” of man. A proper understanding of this term does not negate God’s authority, but comes from the authority granted man when God says let them have dominion over all the earth (Gen 1:26,28). Man’s freedom (dominion) is explained as God’s Word reveals His Covenant relationship.
What is a mystery and what specifically is “this mystery” referred to by Paul and Peter? This is the quest of this study, to understand the mystery of God. First of all there are a number of definitions for the word mystery. One definition defines mystery as something not fully understood or something that baffles or eludes the understanding; an enigma. The definition of the word mystery in a religious sense is a religious truth that is incomprehensible to reason and knowable only through divine revelation that is revealed by the Holy Spirit.