7 September 2023 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.”
(Matthew 13:10-11all scripture quoted is from the king James Version)
Our introductory text raises a serious issue concerning our understanding of the Holy Scriptures: How is it that we came to understand the Gospel and its deeper channels of life-giving waters while others seem to have no understanding whatsoever? Just as it is not enough to superficially understand the meaning of theorems and formulae of mathematics, we must, as well, be able to apply them to the practical solving of problems; so, must we not simply have a mental comprehension of the meaning of Scripture, but how to apply its benefits in life by a heart comprehension of its meaning to us. These mysteries are revealed by the Holy Spirit in our studies.
It is important to note that this understanding is not acquired by a superior intelligence or behavior, but it is a gift of God: “ . . . Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.” There is more than one purpose for the study of Scripture. For some, it is a matter of gaining acceptance and prestige in the church social setting. For others, it may be a means of persuading the Church to ordain as ministers for the unfortunate purpose of making money and deriving a living therefrom. But for others, there is a change made in the heart that imparts a knowledge of their need for a Redeemer and a thirst to learn of His saving graces.
This change occurs as a result of the quickening impulse of the Holy Ghost deep in the unseen chambers of the heart. It is a life-imparting gift of God that we are awakened from the sleep of death in our transgressions and made alive to hear the Voice that calls us to arise: “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” (Ephesians 2:1-3)
Though the mysteries of the portals of salvation are made very clear to the new convert, there remain mysteries to be uncovered to reveal the beauty and glory of the One who died for us. This is an increasing revelation of mysteries to sanctify and edify our deep love for our Lord. Salvation itself is a gift of grace and not of merit or works: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) Once we have been made alive in the spiritual grace of God, our love and gratitude compels us to search the Scriptures daily, and more deeply, in order to comprehend the width, the depth, and the wideness of God’s love. As we know Him more, we more aptly reflect His image of which we are intended to reflect. As Matthew Henry has well said: “Not of yourselves. Our faith, our conversion, and our eternal salvation, are not the mere product of any natural abilities, nor of any merit of our own: Not of works, lest any man should boast. These things are not brought to pass by anything done by us, and therefore all boasting is excluded; he who glories must not glory in himself, but in the Lord. There is no room for any man’s boasting of his own abilities and power; or as though he had done anything that might deserve such immense favors from God.”
We see mysteries every day of which we are not even aware. But to those who are given the insight, these mysteries reveal wonderful truths across many broad horizons. In my home city of Enterprise, Alabama, the weather is subject to violent storms at times. When a tornado has been detected on the radar, a siren sounds loudly throughout the city. If one is not accustomed to this warning, they could be caught in the open and perish as a result. But the informed resident will know to seek cover. If we see a statue of a military figure on a horse, we may fail to grasp the meaning that the statue conveys to those who understand military statuary. If the horse is rearing, it means the rider died in battle. If the horse is standing with one hoof lifted, it means the rider later died as a result of wounds received in battle. If the horse is standing with all fours on the ground, it means the rider died of natural causes. So, knowing that, we may understand something about every such statue.
The mysteries of the Bible will never be completely revealed to us until we go to the Lord on the Last Day; however, as we love Him more, and study His Word with diligence, He reveals more and more of His mysteries to us. It is good that we can never learn all mysteries of God else we would grow bored of study.
Study strengthens us and gives us life, and it is not restricted to merely hearing a weekly sermon, but DAILY.