Christ in You

The Mystery of Christ

Reading and studying the Scriptures, particularly the Apostle Paul’s letters in the New Testament, we find a number of passages that use the term “mystery,” so we’ve been looking to see if we can uncover the secrets God wants to reveal to us. Here is another one in Paul’s letter to the Colossians:

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions. Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.  (Colossians 1:24-29)

Several significant points emerge immediately concerning the mystery from this passage, and they include the following:

  • The mystery has been hidden from past ages and generations.
  • The mystery has now been manifested to Christ’s “saints.”
  • God wants to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery.
  • The mystery, in essence, is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
  • Paul therefore seeks to admonish and teach all believers about this mystery so they may be “complete in Christ.”

The Hidden Mystery

The mystery, Paul writes, has been kept hidden for many ages and generations.  Why is this?  In part at least, it was because humans were separated from God, unable to hear God’s voice or receive His wisdom.  

Even with God’s chosen people, the Israelites in the Old Testament, the Lord communicated them visually and externally, rather than from the inside.  And in the accounts of God’s direct dealings with His prophets, priests, or kings, we read that the Holy Spirit “came upon” them rather than filling and living in them as He does now under the New Covenant.  

Here in the case of the anointing of David as future king of Israel  is one of many examples:

Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and went to Ramah. (I Samuel 11:6)

Here is an account of the first Judge who helped deliver the Israelites from their enemies:

When the sons of Israel cried to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for the sons of Israel to deliver them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel. (Judges 19:9-10)

And similar accounts are told about Samson, Amasai, Jeptha, Jahaziel, King Saul, and others, how the Spirit of the Lord “came upon” them.

Before His crucifixion and after His resurrection, however, Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would not only be their teacher but also would fill them with power so they could be His witnesses in all the earth.  

 

The Infilling of the Holy Spirit

Just after Christ’s resurrection, He appeared to the disciples and breathed on them, saying to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). This is the moment when they were “born again” into the New Covenant, but they still needed more of the Holy Spirit in their lives.  It wasn’t until the the Day of Pentecost that this promise of the Spirit’s power was given to them:

This is what Peter declared in his message on the Day of Pentecost, when the gathered disciples were all filled with the Holy Spirit:

Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.  (Acts 2:33)

This “Gift of the Holy Spirit” was foretold by the Prophet Joel and the promise was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost.  Peter refers to this prophecy in his message to the crowd that has gathered:

“It will come about after this
That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and daughters will prophesy,
Your old men will dream dreams,
Your young men will see visions.
 Even on the male and female servants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”  (Joel 2:28-29)

This promise of the Spirit was new, kept hidden from past generations, but on the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit appeared like flaming tongues of fire that rested on each one of the believers in Christ.  

Peter relates that this same promise was made to all who will call upon Him in the future:  “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself” (Acts 2:39).  This is the mystery God wants to reveal to the saints of all ages, showing the “riches of the glory” of this infilling of the Holy Spirit.

 

        

 

The Healing of the Man Born Lame

After the Day of Pentecost, Peter and John are arrested and called before the Jewish leaders after a man who was lame from birth was healed.  They spend one night in prison and then are called before Annas the high priest and all who were of high-priestly descent.

Peter, who is “filled with the Holy Spirit,” speaks in response to gathered rulers, who ask, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?” (Acts 4:7).

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health.

When Peter and John are released, they return to the rest of the Believers gathered in Jerusalem, relating their story.  The Believers give thanks and praise to God, saying:  

“And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness. (Acts 4:29 -31)

Thus, God fulfills His promises both to fill and continues filling, the faithful believers as they seek to manifest His glory to the world, as it says later in Acts:   “And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit”  (Acts 13:52).  Is it any wonder that the Gospel spread so quickly and so powerfully in the early days of the Church?  

 

Riches of Glory

In describing this Mystery of Christ to the Colossian believers, Paul emphasizes certain words to reveal their importance:  

God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

The one word that stands out the most in this description is the word “glory.”  This word is kaw-bode’, or כבוד, in Hebrew. The word relates to “heaviness in weight,” or figuratively, “weighty in terms of importance,” as in the weight of a particular attribute such as majesty, strength, beauty, or splendor.  

In the New Testament, on the other hand, the Greek word for glory is doxazo, which means “brilliance” or “radiance.”

Summarizing and connecting this word’s meanings to our mystery-text, “glory” refers to the “fullness of God,” or “the acts and the attributes” of God.   God’s glory refers to the things God does and the things God is, just because He is God.  It is the self-manifestation of God’s love, might, and power.

Those who have asked for and received, the Holy Spirit, in their lives, the very presence of the Spirit of Christ, know from personal experience what this glory is.  Those who have not received the gift need only ask, seek, and find, for all who call upon the name of the Lord will receive His promise of the Spirit if they ask in faith.

Isn’t it significant that many Eastern Mystics meditate to receive peace by essentially emptying their minds?  

Yet instead of emptying themselves, Believers in Christ seek to be filled, continually filled, with the  eternal presence of the Holy Spirit.  This is what it means when Paul writes,

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.  (I Corinthians 6:18-20)

 

The Hope of Glory

The mystery–“Christ in you, the hope of glory”–is a rich mystery indeed, so rich that Paul constantly is proclaiming, admonishing and teaching to ensure that believer is complete in Christ.  

We still need to receive revelation about a significant question, however:  What does “hope of glory” mean?  

The word “hope” means “a joyful and confident expectation” that a promise of God will be fulfilled.  Since faith is the “substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,”  our faith believes that a promise for the future, as in ‘hope,” has already been fulfilled.  Hope, on the other hand, anticipates its arrival.  

Lacking patience, many people cease believing or seeking when an answer is not immediate.  They may even petulantly give up if they do not see the fulfillment of the Lord’s promises right away.  This is why Paul needed to “admonish” and “teach” the people.  They needed to learn steadfastness, unswerving stability, when seeking the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

Thus, we must live our lives in constant expectation of seeing God’s glory in our lives at any moment, remaining steadfast in spite of circumstances that God will reveal His will according to His promises to us and perform it in our lives.

Combining these ideas with those concerning “glory,” we now understand that we can live our lives in constant, joyful expectation that Christ’s glory will manifest, that we will receive new revelations of Him at any moment. 

 

 

 

 


No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

WordPress Themes