Have you ever heard someone default to the mysteries of God and faith? I’m not talking about the inexplicably vast cosmic influence God has or the complexity of His omniscience, but rather the uncertainties of everyday life in Christ. If wisdom is to be found, understanding to be had, and relationship with the almighty to be sought after, is the crux of our being something that we cannot hope to comprehend? Is it really out of reach and impossible to understand? Paul in Colossians chapter 1 says that it’s not.
“Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 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.” COLOSSIANS 1: 24-27
Paul shares with the Colossians that he has “become its [the church] servant by the commission God gave (him)to present to (them) the word of God in its fullness.” This statement segues Paul’s next statement about the ancient mystery that is no longer on account of Christ. That leads me to believe that prior to Christ the word of God was not complete, but now, after Christ’s ministry and the delivery of the Holy Spirit, the word of God has been made full, complete, total, and absolute. The word, according to John, which was present in the beginning, had been made flesh.
The “mystery,” in essence, has been solved once and for all. The answer to the age old question of life, purpose, calling, and fullness is, in fact, the Holy Spirit of God finding His home within us, according to the scripture. It makes sense, but only since Christ came, died and took His place at God’s right hand. The prophets dreamed of the day that Christ would come, in that salvation would become available, the relationship between God and man would be repaired, and the hope of glory would be revealed through the Holy Spirit in us. That’s exceptional news and it’s no longer an unsolved mystery, in fact it’s the hallmark of a life fulfilled and the basis for the ministry of the church.
There were hundreds of old testament prophecies that foretold the coming of Jesus and what that would mean to the world and its people. This for centuries was a mystery to all people, including the prophets themselves. David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Joel and others spoke of a day that the mystery of their time would be solved through the life of a person – the Messiah. Chronologically, we know and believe that time has come and we, in a way, are the answer to the ancient mystery. That is, we who make room for the indwelling Holy Spirit – Christ in us – the hope of glory – the riches of the former mystery now and yet disclosed to believing gentiles – the solution to a world formerly tied down by the law.
Here is my paraphrase of Paul’s introduction to the “solution” here in Colossians, I hope I’ve done it justice: in this and only in this, we can now rejoice in our obstacles, challenges and sufferings on account of others, and we can and should now take heart in our physical oppression that it would but parallel that which our savior withstood on the cross.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be a part of the solution, not the problem.
Note* – It’s important to note that Paul penned the letter to the Colossians while in a Roman jail, so the physical suffering that he mentions more than likely had to do with what he was enduring while incarcerated.
Joe D’Orsie – Communications & Spiritual Life Counsel firstname.lastname@example.org