“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness. God was manifest in the flesh; justified in the Spirit; seen of angels; preached unto the Gentiles; believed on in the world; received up into glory” (1 Timothy 3:16).
Godliness, translated from the combining of several Greek words means to be of the nature of one well revered. Having the nature of means to be as that one is, who is well revered, godly. This is a great mystery. How can the ordinary man be as God? On the flip side what if God became the ordinary man? Without controversy, or to be confessedly true that is exactly what the Gospel declares God did do of a truth.
God was manifest in the flesh. Immanuel: God with us. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth” declared the Apostle John in his Gospel (John 1:14).
There, in the hypo-static union of God and man, there was Jesus, the Son of God/Son of Man, in one body after the similitude of Adam from a virgin birth of one called Mary, of the lineage of David, just as the prophets said it would be (cf. Isaiah 7:14).
Justified in the Spirit. Justification: to render innocent, righteous. The Spirit of God declared Jesus to be entirely righteous, holy, pure, blameless, undefiled and worthy of Eternal Life. The demonstration of Christ’s worthiness and proof of His entire holiness, His sinless perfection was the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
Seen of Angels. Angels ministered to Jesus from the announcement of His birth to the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:30-31) and the Shepherds in the field (Luke 2:8-15); to Christ’s temptation in the wilderness by the Devil (Matthew 4:11). Angels ministered to Jesus continually and were at His grave to announce His Resurrection (Matthew 28:1-6). Angels were there at the Ascension to declare to the Apostles that “this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:10-11).
Preached unto the Gentiles. The Gospel has been preached in all the world as a testimony to every nation, language and tribe from the time Christ commanded His disciples to “Go, therefore, and teach all nations. . .to observe all things I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).
Believed on in the World. Today there are believers in every nation, regardless of the regimes in power, suffering under repression and persecution, imprisonment and torture, for whom the world is not worthy (cf. Hebrews 11:38).
Received up into Glory. After His resurrection Jesus was with His disciples for forty days speaking to them concerning the Kingdom of God. Then, “when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9).
Yes, the Mystery of Godliness is a great mystery, indeed, But as a mystery is only a mystery while it is hidden, the full disclosure is being revealed to us by the Spirit of God. Yes, even to our ears, and our hearts. May “the eyes of our understanding be enlightened and may we know what is the hope of His calling, and what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the Saints” (cf. Ephesians 1:18).
Godliness, the nature of one well revered. May the nature of Jesus, the One most revered, be seen in us today.