JohnSWilson3 Blog

“…this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
June 26, 2010, 1:26 pm
Filed under: N Letter to the Colossians

After describing the wonderful supremacy of Jesus Christ “in everything,” Paul begins now to describe, by using himself as a model, that knowing Jesus Christ in all of His glory, affects everything else about our lives together in the body of Christ!

We were “once alienated from God and were enemies in (our) minds because of (our) evil behavior,” “but now He has reconciled (us) by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation – if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.” This good news is meant to “continue” in our lives. This is not a one time thing, this is not a one time prayer, this is something that “sticks” that remains as part of an experience that continues to grow throughout our physical life on this earth! We are to “continue in (our) faith, established and firm, not removed from the hope held out in the gospel.” We must continue to set our hearts on Him, set our minds on Him, see Him, know Him, our glorious Jesus Christ! Why? Because He is our very life! That is why Paul continues to say:

“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. 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. I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness – the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. 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. We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.”

Paul describes in general the fulfilling of the promise that Jesus Christ gave him back on that Damascus road and the life in Christ Paul has lived up to now. In Acts 9 Ananias was instructed by the Lord to tell Paul, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” Because Christ lives in His body, the church, Paul therefore is a servant of the church in every city, wherever they gather. But how Paul has suffered both by the hands of non-Christians and so called Christians. When God’s people suffer, Christ suffers. How much do we need to see that truth, how many times do we haphazardly cause needless pain towards others in the body of Christ, and outside the body of Christ, because of our selfishness and not realize that we are afflicting Jesus that selfsame pain and causing His name to be diminished in the eyes of the world. “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it” as he mentioned to the church in Corinth, where many Christians hurt one another on many occasion. But Paul also realizes that being in Christ means to suffer. Perhaps Paul is reflecting back to what he told the Philippians: “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” We truly do not know Jesus Christ very well without “the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings.” Not that we go looking for it, but it comes to us when we are living by the Holy Spirit, in an organic way.

Paul rejoices in his sufferings because it was “for the sake of his body, which is the church.” Paul was the church’s servant not the other way around. Paul never controlled a church, he was only a guide, a servant. Even before Paul was beaten in the crowd in Jerusalem, almost killed by a conspiracy, and left in prison for years in Caesarea, then ship wrecked on his way to Rome, and bitten by a poisonous snake (and lived by the way!) he said to the Corinthians in his second letter, years earlier: “I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn.” We have nothing to boast.

After Paul was visited by the Lord on the Damascus road, not that that wasn’t awesome enough, Paul told the Galatian Christians, something even more wonderful: “But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace,” Paul tells them God “was pleased to reveal his Son in me.” Can we get a hold of that brothers and sisters! Lord help me get a hold of that – the “Son in me”! Paul was captivated by His glorious Lord Jesus Christ, who lived in him, and was so captivated that nothing was more important than following the Lord, and fulfilling the message given to him by Jesus, the message to “preach him among the Gentiles.”

The message given to Paul, in God’s timing, was not to change peoples lives, not to make better families, not to make earthly societies care for the poor and needy, not to make nations live with each other in peace. The message was that God wants to give us, everyone, Jew and Gentile alike, male and female, poor or rich, all the nations of this world, His life! God wants to get rid of everything, the old person, the sterotypes, the prejudices, and give us a new Person, His Son, Jesus Christ! He wants a new creation! A people that have received Him, who is “other” than us (as T. Austin-Sparks would say). This world is “the dominion of darkness” and must be removed! We must be transferred into a whole other realm, “the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” We are a new kind of people, a nation within nations, wholly different and peculiar. Only Jesus’ life in us can do that.

The full gospel is not some thing, not some gift, not some this or that, the full gospel is the realization that not only has Jesus died and rose again for me and saved me and brought me into a relationship with Himself, but also in every follower of Jesus Christ, HE DWELLS! He lives in me and us and all who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we have truly meditated on “the Son he loves,” “the image of the invisible God,” the Creator of “all things,” who was “before all things, and in him all things hold together,” who shed His blood “on the cross,” made us fit to share His life “in the kingdom of light,” “reconciled” by His “physical body through death” and made us “holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation,” all for us so that He could live in me and you, and be “the head of the body” then He changes us from the inside and He manifests His life through us to others. If we could reflect and know the supremacy of Jesus Christ “in everything,” and all that He has done for us, that should do something in us! Oh may we say with Paul: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” How we need to know Jesus and Him crucified!


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