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Chasing the Mystery

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. (Colossians 1:25-27, NIV)

I love a good mystery. I just finished reading “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson. It begins with strange phenomena and unexplainable events. The story builds, clue by clue, until ultimately the mystery is explained, the bad guy is revealed, and everything makes sense.

The love of mysteries isn’t anything new. In the ancient world in which Paul lived, mystery was popular, too. Many belonged to what were called “mystery religions” in which one could gain and grow in spiritual status by learning spiritual clues or participating in pagan rituals. Step by step one would supposedly gain knowledge of the universe until finally its secrets were disclosed.

In both of these examples, humans are the one to get to the bottom of the mystery.

The mystery of the Gospel, of which Paul calls himself a servant, is much different, however. Humans cannot dig deep enough to discover the deep mysteries of the divine. They remain forever hidden. They are completely unknowable. That is, unless God chooses to reveal himself. This is exactly what Paul tells us God has done. Divine mysteries were hidden for generations but are now disclosed to us. God chose to make them known – otherwise we would still be in the dark.

The mystery can be summed up rather simply: Christ in you, the hope of glory. That is the gospel in a nutshell. It may still be difficult to grasp, but it isn’t a mystery any longer. God has revealed it through his Son.

Thank God for that!

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