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.