Paul defended his apostleship and ministry as having been given from God to “make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now made manifest to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:25-27.
What does Paul mean by this profound phrase? Several aspects of these verses need to be examined and understood.
First, what is the mystery that has been hidden for ages and generations? The Church at Colossae faced false teachers who proclaimed a mystery that only they knew. They promised those who followed them that only they had the fullness of life.
Paul hit their teaching head on by using their own terminology. He assured the Colossians that Christ was all that they needed (Colossians 2:10) and that God does not keep secrets from his saints. Instead He makes Himself “fully known.”
The mystery that Paul refers to is the wonderful news that God has chosen both Jews and Gentiles to experience the fullness of Christ. This was truly astounding news. For Paul, a “mystery” is a truth that would have remained unknown had not God revealed it.
The mystery is Christ Himself. It is Christ amazingly dwelling in the hearts and lives of Gentiles. What a wonderful mystery that it is! The Colossians themselves were proof of what God had done. Christ dwelled in the Colossians through His Spirit.
To be “in Christ” was Paul’s favorite term to describe His relationship with Christ. He spoke of being “in Christ” and of Christ being “in you.”
Second, what is the hope of Glory? Does it refer to the present relationship with Christ or the expectation of the future, eschatological glory? Some expositors pick one or the other meaning and defend it accordingly. I believe that Paul is speaking about both the present indwelling of the Holy Spirit with all of its benefits and the future hope that accompanies Christ’s return to earth. This fits with Jesus’ teaching about the Kingdom of Heaven, a reality that has come and is coming.
“Christ in me” is blessing beyond end. The indwelling Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace and more (Galatians 5:22-23). The gift of the Holy Spirit is the down payment of our future life with God forever (Romans 8:23; Ephesians 1:14). At the same time, the whole creation groans for the day of redemption (Romans 8:22-23). We wait for that full redemption that will be ours when Christ returns. For a discussion of the indwelling Spirit in the life of the believer look here. http://waylonbailey.com/2011/05/gods-spirit-in-you/
The phrase “Christ in you, the hope of Glory” looks to both our present relationship with Christ now and our future life with Him forever.
What a blessed people we are!
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