June 3, 2007
THE MYSTERY (Part 2)
Paul wrote the Colossian letter to believers he had never met. His message had been conveyed to them through aphras, a faithful man who had not only told them Paul’s message, but had told Paul of their spiritual response. The ”truth of the gospel; which came to you, as it is in all the world...brings forth fruit, as it does also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth...” (Colossians 1:4-5).
Since “gnosticism” had tried to influence these saints it was needful that Paul write and set forth Christ’s glorious position as Head of the “church, which is His body,.” as “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation: for by Him were all things created...in heaven, and...in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or princi-palities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for Him. And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist (stay together)” (Col. 1:15-17). Thus Christ is the revelation of God where “firstborn” does not mean born first, but rather means “preeminent.” Christ has the uppermost place as Creator, not at all as a part of that creation!
Christ is also the preeminent One in the New Creation, “the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the pre-eminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell...” (1:18-19). These truths were “preached to the whole creation...under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister” (1:23).
“For his body's sake, which is the church” Paul was also “made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God” (Col. 1:24-25).
What was it that filled full “the word of God”? We do not have to guess but to read. It was “the mystery which has been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory...” (1:26-27). The glory of God’s secret was Christ, God’s riches among them, the Gentiles. That is Christ the Head and the church, which is His body. Their hearts were to be comforted and knit together by the “riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, Christ; in Whom are hid all...treasures of wisdom and knowledge...” (Col. 2:2-3).
Ivan L. Burgener