A good friend of mine is entrepreneurial by nature: where some balk timidly at a challenge, he steps eagerly into an opportunity. Working through a complex legal matter one day, John struggled to comprehend the nuances of the law as it applied to his situation. He queried his legal team repeatedly until one of his attorneys, finally giving up, said, “John, I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you.” (What a great line!)
Over the past three weeks, we have been exploring the mystery of God, which is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”1 It had been a secret “kept hidden in God”2 for immeasurable ages past, concealed until the time of His revealing. Interestingly, the original Greek word translated “mystery” in English refers to something unknowable, completely hidden from anyone other than the one who initiates the secret and those to whom he or she reveals it. So it is with Christ: He is known to us only as God illumines Him in our heart. Stated differently, no one can “understand” Him for us, nor can we “understand” Him for anyone else.
But “explain” Him, we can! In fact, this is our call. Paul wrote, “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.”3 He was speaking about the apostles, but surely all who have experienced Christ have likewise become stewards of this mystery now revealed. Like those who have gone before us, “We speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.”4
So what is our message? What revealed mystery do we now proclaim? Living in us, Jesus is our hope of glorious resurrection.1 Moreover, we live with an inner fullness that we could not know outside of Christ, for “the fullness of the Deity” lives in Him who now lives in us.5 In this “mystery made known,”6 says Paul, “we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”7 And God “made known to us the mystery of his will … to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.”8 Eternal life in Christ, fullness of life in Christ, relational freedom and confidence in Christ, oneness under Christ—this is the message we explain to open ears and the truth God brings to understanding in open hearts.
Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory. (1 Timothy 3:16 ESV)
Father, thank you for revealing your mystery to me and for placing my life in your Son, Jesus Christ. Speak your truth through me that others would hear and understand. In the name of Jesus and by the power of your Spirit, I pray. Amen.
Christ in me is confidence.
1 Colossians 1:25-27
2 Ephesians 3:9
3 1 Corinthians 4:1, 2
4 1 Corinthians 2:7
5 Colossians 2:9, 10
6 Ephesians 3:3
7 Ephesians 3:12
8 Ephesians 1:9, 10