Christ In You, The Hope Of Glory
“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.” Colossians 1:27 NIV
What an exciting concept! We have Christ in us, and through that relationship our hearts are filled with the hope of glory. What did Paul actually mean when he referred to the “riches of this mystery”? What was he really trying to tell us?
Just to make sure we are not misunderstanding what he meant, let’s put verse 27 in context. As we do this, we will see that the expression, “Christ in you, the hope of glory,” is the culminating revelation of a series of thoughts which originate in the glorious message of the gospel.
The Gospel Of Truth
Paul reassured the Colossians that they had heard the Word of Truth in the gospel preached to them. They had received the message by faith, and it was bearing fruit and growing – not only among them, but all over the world (Col. 1:5-6). The result of having accepted the gospel and of being brought into God’s family was that they, along with all who receive the Lord Jesus as Savior, were brought into all the blessings and riches of the gospel. The riches of the gospel include treasures such as being rescued from “the dominion of darkness,” being “qualified to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light,” receiving a complete pardon for sin and the assurance of eternal life (Col. 1:12-14), being reconciled to God, becoming a child of God through adoption, being assured of blessings in this life and the life to come, and so much more.
All the riches in Christ that they had received contrasted radically with what they had before the blessings of the gospel poured into their souls. They had been aliens from the promises of God – exceedingly wicked, poor and blind – and had lived in misery and without hope. The Gentiles particularly had never experienced the power of God for their blessing, and did not have the inspired Scriptures to point them to God. Paul stated that they were “dead in (their) transgressions and sins, in which (they) used to live when (they) followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath” (Eph. 2:1-3). They were without hope and without God in this world.
When the Gentiles received the gospel they were flooded with the peace of Christ, brought in as the chosen of God, made wise through the fear of God, and filled with inexpressible joy. They came to know real life: “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:4-7).
With the indwelling Spirit they had power, and would be strengthened spiritually so that they would be able to enjoy the new life to the full. Paul made similar comments to the Ephesians when he told them that they too would be filled with Christ: “I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith … that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:16,19). The fullness of God’s power is in us, which enables us to live as we should and to enjoy the riches of His grace as we wait for the day when the Lord Jesus will return and take us to enjoy the inheritance which is ours. What a hope!
The Creator Redeemer
The power and basis of this glorious gospel was in the Lord Jesus Himself. He not only laid the foundation for the gospel by dying as a substitute for lost sinners, but was the originator of the plan and, as the Creator God, had the power to instigate and carry out the plan.
The glory of the Lord Jesus as Son of God and Savior, is revealed through the gospel. His eternal existence is clearly shown as the Creator of all things, including the universe, the angels, and the world we live in. He is the sustainer of all creation and “in Him all things hold together.” The Lord Jesus becomes the central theme of the gospel because it begins with Him, is sustained by Him, continues through Him, and will culminate with Him. He is the substance and riches of the gospel. All the fullness of the Deity dwells in Him (Col. 1:16-19). The glory of the gospel is seen in Him as the “only begotten of the Father” and as the only mediator between God and man. He is the wisdom of God, the truth of God, the faithfulness of God, and the love of God personified. His holiness, grace, mercy, and compassion are eminently displayed in the gospel.
Christ, The Mystery Of The Gospel
The word “mystery” is used, not in the sense of something mysterious, but rather as something that was unknown. In Old Testament times the prophets were used by God to reveal His Word to the people of God. Most of the writings of the prophets were directly connected to current events in their times, but other prophesies obviously contained messages about future events. The prophets themselves did not always understand what was meant in their own writings or the prophesies of others.
Daniel was one who was troubled about the prophetic writings and wanted to know what they meant: “Then I wanted to know the true meaning of the fourth beast … While I, Daniel, was watching the vision and trying to understand it” (Dan. 7:19, 8:15). Some answers were given to Daniel, but others were sealed up and kept from the understanding of men until the right time: “But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end” (Dan. 12:4).
Daniel wasn’t the only one who tried to understand the prophesies, but in spite of carefully searching the Scriptures regarding the coming Messiah, His Church and salvation by grace through faith was a mystery to these men: “Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things” (1 Pet. 1:10-12). How interesting! Even the angels were kept in the dark about God’s master plan for salvation. The angels would come to understand the glories and riches of Christ through the gospel and the Church.
When the time was right, God sent His Son into the world to reveal His plan, which was the glorious gospel of salvation through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus on the cross: “But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir” (Gal. 4:4-7). The “mystery” was finally revealed!
Christ In You, The Hope Of Glory
Not only was the believer to receive salvation and eternal life through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus on the cross, but the Lord Jesus, through the person of the Holy Spirit, would take up residence in the believer. His indwelling presence would give new life in Christ and the assurance of salvation. He would be the power to transform the life and bring the believer into all the blessings mentioned before. We can now say that this communion through union with Christ, is the ground and source of all our hopes of glory.
The glory we hope for transcends anything this world can offer. The joys and blessings which we now experience are nothing compared with what is in store for us. Any sufferings, persecutions, tribulations, or any other trials in this present life are nothing when contrasted to the joy set before us. What can compare to beholding the Lord of glory face to face? How can we evaluate an eternity of fellowship with the Lord? What will it be to be partakers of His glory and to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light?
Through His suffering and death, the Lord Jesus has opened the way for us to enter into the joys of knowing Him, and of living with this blessed hope of seeing Him soon, and then dwelling with Him forever. What a glorious hope!
By Ian Taylor
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA.