Today we started to read a sequence of Paul’s letters, beginning with the one to the Colossians. How deeply meaningful are many of the ‘pictures’ that develop in our minds as we read; especially if we meditate deeply on some of the words and phrases he employs. A foundation ‘picture’ – and probably the most challenging one – is the reality of his point about the “mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” [1 v.27]
Paul says this ‘mystery‘ is a ‘secret’ (a word often used to translate the Gk. word here) “hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.” [v.26] Those receiving it are those “who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds” [v.21] Now they are in an opposite situation and Paul is extremely anxious that they maintain the wonder of their new and wonderful relationship with the divine – indeed, increase it – so that they become more and more like their Saviour in their character. As a result the whole way in which their individual minds operate really becomes “Christ in you”?
Can we ‘see’ this? May it become less and less a “mystery” to us.
The result of our Lord, becoming “the firstborn from the dead” [v.18] was that the Creator caused “in him all the fullness of God … to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things … making peace by the blood of his cross. ” [v.19,20] Really profound meditation needs to be developed around these words. Consider the word “peace” in this context. Natural human nature separates us from God – in a sense – we are, or have been, at ‘war’ with him, with all his values: so how passing wonder is this form of “peace.”
Christ came to bring an end to that ‘war’ for all those who can develop a genuine relationship with him. This is not something we can fully embrace in our minds on the normal intellectual level. Look again – and absorb Paul’s point in verses 26 &27. “The mystery hidden for ages … God chose to make known – how great … are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you”
Is this literally “Christ in you“? The meaning is surely parallel with Christ being in God! Look ahead to tomorrow’s ch. 3. Paul tells the believers, ” For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” [v.3] What has died? The old man, the old woman! Do we feel our life is now “hidden” – or is this too much of a “mystery“? Now look on to v.16! “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
May our minds absorb “this mystery” so that “the word of Christ dwell(s) in you (& me) richly” in this way – – filling our hearts with “thankfulness” every day. D.Caudery