Summary: A look at six elements of "Christ crucified" - the core of our faith.
What’s At The Core? The center of the gospel is not the Bible or the church; it is Christ crucified.
- The phrase at the beginning of verse 16 is worth a moment’s pause: “the mystery of godliness.”
- This can be taken two ways:
a. The mystery of what God has done.
- What’s He up to? What’s He doing in the world? What’s His plan?
b. The mystery of our godliness.
- How does God intend to redeem us? What does God intend to do about our sin? What hope is there for us?
- This had been a mystery throughout most of history. The Old Testament hints and provides fleeting glimpses of the hope, but no one had been able to put together a coherent picture of this salvation. It was still a mystery.
- And here, in six succinct phrases, Paul summarizes the “mystery of godliness” that now has been made known.
Why Is Each Element Essential?
1. Jesus was capable of taking away sin.
- 1 Timothy 3:16 – “He appeared in a body. . .”
- Look up: Philippians 2:7-8.
- Jesus, being fully man and fully God, was uniquely qualified to be able to intercede for our sins. He was uniquely positioned to be pure enough to atone for our sins yet also loving enough to step into a debt that we owed.
- In so doing, Jesus addresses the greatest question: what can we do about human sin?
2. We have life beyond death.
- 1 Timothy 3:16 – “. . . was vindicated by the Spirit. . .”
- Romans 1:4.
- Look up: Romans 1:4.
- These two verses, in combination, seem to point to the idea that it was the Holy Spirit who raised Christ from the dead.
- The “vindication” that Paul has in mind here is the resurrection of Christ. Jesus died a shameful death. It is in the resurrection of Christ that there is definitive proof of what He was doing and who He was.
- Because Jesus was “vindicated by the Spirit” and raised from the dead, we have the hope of life beyond death. We know that He was the firstborn of the dead, assuring us that we have the hope of resurrection also.
3. The demons know they’re defeated.
- 1 Timothy 3:16 – “. . . was seen by angels. . .”
- There are a couple possibilities for what this means:
a. It is a reference to the angels who were present at Christ’s resurrection.
b. It is a reference to the demons who were “in prison” that Christ preached to between His death and His resurrection.
- Look up: 1 Peter 3:18-20.
- I am of the opinion that the later is a stronger possibility. I think He preached to them the radical salvation that He had accomplished on the cross. They knew at that point they were defeated.
- This is important for our spiritual lives, that we live as victors. The demons know they’re defeated. Satan knows he’s defeated.
- So often we act hesitant and reticent, as though we’re the ones who have reason to be scared. We serve a risen Savior!
4. We’ve got exciting news to share.
- 1 Timothy 3:16 – “. . . was preached among the nations. . .”
- We need to share the Good News with those around us. It’s exciting what Jesus has opened up to us.
- It’s easy for us to get bored by the Greatest Story Ever Told. It’s easy for us to yawn at the death and resurrection of Jesus. “Yeah, I know, I’ve heard it countless times.”
- We need to be excited, if for no other reason, because of the change that it can bring to that person’s life. “You don’t have to stay stuck in your sin!” “You don’t have to be mired in your mess!” “There is a power that can overcome!”
5. Knowing about Jesus is of no value.
- 1 Timothy 3:16 – “. . . was believed on in the world. . .”
- Acts 2:41.
- It’s not enough to know about Jesus. You’ve got to go a step beyond and actually believe in Him.
- Believing in Him is not intellectually assenting to a list of doctrine. It is making the choice to actually follow Christ with your life.
- This is so important because all the Jesus did on the cross and all the hope that comes through the resurrection has no bearing on our lives if we are unwilling to invite Him into our heart.