Martyn Lloyd-Jones preached a phenomenal series through the Book of Ephesians. His sermon on the verse from 8-9 is called The Mystery of God's Will. It is so rich with insight and profundity I listened to it twice and then transcribed part of it so as to study more. Here is MLJ on the word mystery in Ephesians and other verses:
Mystery is a key term. If we do not understand its meaning we shall certainly go astray. … What, then, does this term mean? Well, let us have a few negatives. It does not mean the same as the manner of the cults and the mystery religions which were common in Paul’s day. A kind of mystic secret, which is only revealed to a few initiates and which is deliberately kept from and guarded from everybody else. No, that was the characteristic of the mystery religions. You went into the temples and you went through certain procedures. It was a secret that was really confined to a few philosophers and exceptional people. It was never given to the common, ordinary people.
Oh no, it was closely guarded and kept, and there was a great ceremony and ritual and then you were initiated. There are certain cults as you are familiar with at the present time which are clearly based upon such practices and are the very antithesis of the Christian faith. Behind closed doors, the secret must be kept and never divulged, and nobody knows. It’s the opposite of Christianity which proclaims, preaches, expounds, heralds, and wants everybody to know it. It isn’t a closely guarded secret to which only initiates are admitted. No, it isn’t that.
More important perhaps is that we should say this: that when this truth is described as a mystery, it doesn’t mean that it is something that is incomprehensible to the human mind in and of itself and therefore vague and nebulous and indefinite. Now that is the more important point to emphasize today. Because, there is a popular school of thought which says something like this: it is that the Christian faith can never be stated in propositions. Those of you who are following the journals will recognize this as part of the Barthian movement, followers of Karl Barth of Switzerland. They say that truth, salvation, cannot and must not be stated in propositional terms.
Well what is it then? They say it is essentially an encounter. It is this existential moment when God speaks to man and addresses him and then something happens. And all man’s attempts and endeavors to put it into print of necessity are wrong and false and misleading. That is why they say that ultimately all you have in the Bible is very fallible. That it is only man’s attempts to state this thing that happened at the moment of encounter. You mustn’t tell men that you must believe certain propositional truths, they say that truth can never be stated propositionally. It’s a mystery. In other words, their definition of a mystery is that it is something incomprehensible, something that men cannot state and cannot express. Any attempt to do so detracts from it.
Now, I say that it is vitally important that we should realize that that is not the meaning of mystery. That view of mystery is not confined to the Barthian movement and to its various adherents, there are others who believe the same thing. ...
I suggest that those definitions of mystery are utterly erroneous.
Gill's Exposition explains the Ephesians verse, what God's mystery is--
the mystery—God's purpose of redemption hidden heretofore in His counsels, but now revealed (Eph 6:19; Ro 16:25; Col 1:26, 27). This "mystery" is not like the heathen mysteries, which were imparted only to the initiated few. All Christians are the initiated. Only unbelievers are the uninitiated.And yet, there are so many false religions around the world and on our own doorstep that take the word mystery and build an entire false religion around it. People follow a track or a hierarchy in attempting to climb toward solving the "mystery". They will all perish if they adhere to their track on the mystery religion. So many men and women have founded religions where people fruitlessly seek to perform tasks and rituals which will eventually (they hope) reveal the mystery. In all cases, these false religions or secret societies are attempting to contact god or gods. As this page explains,
The idea of there being different levels then moves the process on and ensures that the new initiate strives to become an adherent or full member by learning the ways of the club or society - and thus the initiate becomes fully engulfed in the world of the society.
Secret societies take this membership a step further by including certain devices within the “knowledge bank” that the initiate must learn. These devices include secret handshakes and words, special days of the year known only to the few, and insights into standard texts. All this, and more, makes the initiate feel ever more important. In all instances, the ultimate enlightenment experience seems to be kept back for the very highest levels of initiation - lower levels of illumination are permitted and used for the lower degrees.One modern secret society which proposes to unlock "mysteries" is the Scientology cult. One knows that cults attract large numbers. Cults indulge the flesh, appeal to intellect, or make a person feel exalted or special. It's disheartening to see how many people fall for the false claims.
excellent ways of drawing in members and utilizing a heightened state in the individual for their own ends - whatever they may be.Scientology in particular, according to their own definition,
In one form or another, all great religions have held the hope of spiritual freedom—a condition free of material limitations and misery. The question has always been, however, how does one reach such a state, particularly while still living amidst a frantic and often overwhelming society?No, it does not. The only pathway to freedom is through Jesus, because He forgives our sins and frees us from bondage to them.
Although modern life seems to pose an infinitely complex array of problems, Scientology maintains that the solutions to those problems are basically simple and within every man's reach. Difficulties with communication and interpersonal relationships, nagging insecurities, self-doubt and despair—each man innately possesses the potential to be free of these and many other concerns.
Scientology offers a pathway to greater freedom.
I live within range of Atlanta. In this essay we are speaking of mystery religions, (cults) one of which is Scientology. Scientology says they offer "total freedom" but only through a veil of secret teachings. The following was news last weekend. Even at that, the information that published in the paper was not reported on by an unbiased journalist, it was from a carefully scripted press release from the organization itself. This means that the information we learn is only what the Organization wants us to know. The Church of Scientology-Atlanta held the grand opening of its new campus in Sandy Springs on Saturday and it seemed to be quite a draw.
|So much wasted flesh... (photo source)|
It's quite disheartening to see so many people seek mysteries which have no resolution, when the resolution to everything is Jesus, and he is out in the open. We must address our sin, not indulge it, as the mystery religions do. Even more sad, is this article below reporting from the press release of the same event,
The Atlanta opening continues an explosive growth period for the Church in the past 12 months. And more is on the way, with openings in the coming year planned for cultural epicenters in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and North America. Joining the Church's opening celebration were 1,500 Atlanta Scientologists, plus those from along the Eastern Seaboard. (source)
Many people are seeking what is false. These people seeking the false are not just in Atlanta like in the picture above, but they are all around the world. And they are seeking what is false not just through Scientology but other mystery religions too. It's saddening to the point of mourning to see so many people in one photo applauding the mystery religion that will reveal no mystery but only send them to hell.
Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)
The problem with the mis-definition of "mystery" is that non-believers seek knowledge to resolve the mystery, but never seek the resolution to our universal problem, which is sin. And sin is no mystery to anyone, even the unbeliever. (Romans 1:18).
If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. (1 John 4:15)
For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 2:5)