The Greatest Mystery: Colossians 1:26-27
“26) that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, 27) 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.” Colossians‬ ‭1:26-27‬
Let’s start with a little background on how God revealed truth to mankind over time. The concept is called “Progressive Revelation.” This means that God revealed Himself and His will for mankind in an orderly and progressive fashion over time from Genesis to Revelation. The book of Genesis lays down many foundational truths, but many mysteries about God still remained. As the Old Testament unfolded, more details were colored into the picture.
A major revelation came with the New Testament. Many hidden mysteries from the foundation of the world were suddenly revealed. The coming of Jesus Christ and His work on the cross was a major revelation of formerly unknown truths. They were hinted at in the Old Testament, but Jesus removed the mystery. They suddenly became clear.
The rest of the New Testament fills in the full application of many doctrines. For example, the doctrines of grace, Justification by faith, the church age, the sealing and filling of the Holy Spirit and many more details about heaven and hell were addressed in greater clarity in the New Testament Epistles.
In Colossians 1:26-27 which we are looking at today, Paul brings up one of the greatest mysteries in the Bible, he simply calls it, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
This concept is mind bending to imagine, but at the moment of salvation, Jesus Christ actually takes up residence in the new Christian. Galatians 2:20 also alludes to this same fact. (See also John 14:23). Admittedly, there are many components to this mystery, but let’s stick to the basics in this post.
Most Bible scholars agree that this happens through the indwelling Holy Spirit. But the fact remains, if you are a born-again believer, God dwells within you through His Spirit. He has taken up permanent residence in your spirit.
But you say; “How can this be possible?” Great question! Paul calls it a mystery. I can’t explain it, but I can accept this biblical teaching by faith. This mystery is part of what Jesus was trying to explain to Nicodemus in John 3:1-21. Jesus called it being “born again” or “born of the Spirit.”
Now there is an important truth you need to understand; this event did not happen in the Old Testament. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit started at Pentecost and accompanies acceptance of Jesus Christ and the gospel. It is for all believers and not merely the nation of Israel.
I would argue that this mystery fundamentally changes people. The indwelling presence of God within a born-again Christian changes the very makeup of the person.
They have both a new identity and new life within. Instead of having mere biological life common to all people, they suddenly also have what the Bible calls “Zoe” life. The idea is “Spirit life.” They have “God within.” They still retain their personality and individuality, but there is a new source of love, peace, power, strength and illumination within. The presence of the Holy Spirit changes them over time.
This may be the greatest mystery in the New Testament. It is what separates mere religion from a born-again experience and what distinguishes a genuine believer from a non-Christian. This mystery of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” is the pivot point of the whole Bible and all of human history.
The end result is the potential for total freedom and a new life. Old thing pass away and new things come into the life of a born-again Christian. (See 2 Corinthians 5:17) This process is wonderful to experience personally and amazing to watch in other people. I pray it is happening in your life.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global