Did you enjoy unraveling the last mystery? This one might be even more amazing. Even after more than forty five years of following Christ, I am still in awe of things that the Lord has done for us. So let's get into one more of the great mysteries contained in the Word of God.
Col 1:26-27 is the text we want to consider. The apostle Paul was giving the reason that he was so willing to suffer for Christ and even be imprisoned for the cause of the gospel. He writes these words in Col 1:25-29;
I have become it's (the gospel) servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.
Now, there are several clues which we must find in order to discover the meaning of this amazing passage. The mystery that Paul speaks of is contained in the phrase, "Christ in you." Have you ever thought about what that statement really means? Well we are going to dig in like Indiana Jones looking for the Ark of the Covenant and see if we can get a handle on it.(No pun intended, or, maybe it was)
Paul says here that it was a mystery that had been kept hidden for ages and generations. That begs the question, from whom? Did anyone before this time understand what this mystery was? Well, in a certain sense, no one before this time could really understand this concept. God had chosen to reveal himself through the nation of Israel and its' prophets. The prophetic scriptures spoke of a coming Messiah. The term Christ, which is equivalent to Messiah, means anointed one. However, the Messiah that they were anticipating would be a man, who would lead the nation of Israel back to its' former glory. They thought he would be an earthly king. Now, how could they possibly relate to the concept of this Messiah being "in you"? It would make no sense.
Those outside of the nation of Israel had no concept of "the one true God", unless they had some association with the Hebrew people or had studied their scriptures. There were some "gentiles" (anyone who was not a Jew) living in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus, who had actually converted to Judaism. They must have had similar views about the coming messiah So you can see why Paul declared this a mystery. The true Messiah, Jesus, would be nothing like what they were looking for.*
The next thing Paul tells us is to whom this mystery has been revealed. It is disclosed to the saints. Ok, some of you may be wondering, who does he mean by saints. The biblical meaning of saints simply means those who have put their trust in Christ. We know this by looking at how the term is used in the New Testament. It occurs forty five times and is always refers to a group of believers. Any other meaning that people attach to the term is a manmade tradition, not biblically accurate.
You see what the apostle Paul is telling us is, that the mystery of true salvation, was revealed in the new life of a believer. It is still a mystery to those who continue to live under the law, but it is the assurance of eternal life with God for those who accept Jesus, the Christ, as their Savior (the hope of glory). The evidence of this new life is Christ living in and through you. Jesus said in Jn 15:4 "Abide in me and I in you." The word abide means dwell or live. He lives in us by means of the Holy Spirit as He says in John 14:16-17 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever — the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. NKJV
Paul also says that this mystery, now made known, contains glorious riches. It is obvious that he is not talking about monetary gain, so what are these glorious riches? Well, there are so many I could take weeks to share them, but let's look at a few of scriptures that use the term riches to describe some of the benefits of "Christ in You."
Ro 2:4 God's kindness and tolerance towards you
Ro 11:33 Wisdom and knowledge of God
Eph 1:7 God's grace lavished upon us
Eph1:18, 3:16 His incomparable great power for us through the Spirit
Php 4:19 All our needs met
There is richness to the Christian life that far surpasses anything else you might hope for. Stop for a moment and really contemplate the fact that God, the creator of the universe, wants to bestow these riches upon you and me! He loves us so much that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Ro 5:8) We become a part of the body of Christ, that He indwells by the Holy Spirit and we have assurance of eternal life with Him. Indeed, these are glorious riches! This is the mystery revealed, CHRIST IN YOU! What could be more glorious than that?
Well, there are many other mysteries revealed in the Word of God, just waiting for you to discover. I hope that your desire to unravel more and more of the "mysteries of God" has been stirred. The more you study his word, the more you will be blessed by His glorious riches!
*If you would like to learn more about the topic of messiah, you might want to listen to my message entitled "The Messiah, Whose Son is He?" Just look across the page for the information on messages at Living Truth Christian Fellowship. It's in the studies in Matthew, Ch 22:21-46.
GAME PLAN: Look up all the scriptures contained in this post. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you insight into each one. Write down any thoughts or questions that He brings to your mind. Share those with at least one other believer
May God bless you as you continue to grow in your relationship with Him,