This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.24 Now I rejoice in what was suffered 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 saints. 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.28 We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. 29 To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.2 I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. 2 My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. 5 For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is. Colossians 1:24-2:5
Tonight I'm going to offer up my own observations on this (kind of long) chunk of verses. Tomorrow I hope to do a little reading to see what The New Bible Commentary and F.F. Bruce would add to the conversation. I'm also praying God will show me and you how this intersects with our lives.
According to this passage, Paul is suffering for the church. Why is he suffering? Does he suffer because he's working to protect and further the preaching of "the mystery"? Paul belongs to the Gospel, to Christ, as its servant. He loves and serves the Truth with great passion, doesn't he?
What is THE MYSTERY? Christ in you, the hope of glory. Even for the Gentiles!
Christ in you, the hope of glory.
|Image credit: http://euangelizomai.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/christ-in-you-the-hope-of-glory/|
Remember yesterday how we were talking about once being alienated from God and His enemies, but once we believe in Jesus we're reconciled to God and peace is restored. The Gospel is this crazy mystery (revealed with Christ!) that no longer do daily sacrifices have to be made that never completely atone for our sin. Christ's blood atones, once and for all, and if one puts his/her faith in Him, He takes up residence in us. The hope of glory - our only hope to participate in real, eternal, beautiful glory - is Christ dwelling in our hearts through faith. Awesome.
Paul, the Gospel-lover of all Gospel-lovers, really wants everyone to be presented perfect in Christ (1:28.) So he LABORS for the Gospel. What against? Heresies, divisions, arguments, etc? I think 2:4, So that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments, gives us the best clue. He wants Christians to know, believe, and cling to the true truth of Christ: Christ in you, the hope of glory. Nothing more, nothing less.
Paul expresses two goals in these verses:
- spread the Word so everyone can be presented perfect in Christ, and
- that those who already believe might grow in deeper knowledge of the mystery of God
He is equally as concerned with those who have yet to hear the Good News, as with those who have. When it's seed planting time, he plants seeds. When it's pruning time, he prunes. When it's fertilizing time, he fertilizes. And through all of those, he regularly has words of encouragement, as in the end of this passage (2:5), I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.
I sure do wonder what it would have been like to know Paul.
And with that thought, tonight's blost comes to a close. Anything else stand out to you from this passage?