March 13, 2018
By Rev. Eugenio D. Raphael, St. Paul’s UMC of San Diego, South District
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.
In this letter to the Colossians the word the apostle Paul used for mystery is sometimes translated as secret in reference to the Good News of Jesus Christ, God’s gift for the salvation of the world. According to Paul, the secret (mystery) had been hidden in the past but has now been revealed. That is, God’s plan of salvation has always existed but was hidden from human understanding until God chose to disclose it at the right time. Thus, Paul proclaims that the mystery has been finally revealed in Christ. No longer hidden, the secret is that “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” (Col. 1:27). There it is! – Faith in Christ includes the full participation of Gentile believers as fellow heirs with the Jews in union with Christ and the Church.
In other words, the secret (or mystery) is that our lives are forever changed because Christ lives in our hearts. This is truly Good News especially for outsiders (Gentile believers) to know that we were always included in God’s plan of salvation to share in the Church as heirs with God’s chosen Jewish servants – “This is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing (Christ’s) glory (Col. 1:27b, NLT).
Similarly, Christians today cannot hold spiritual growth and maturity captive by some hidden plan that only a few privileged people may enjoy. The mystery of Christ was not meant to be exclusive. Paul insisted that he was not proclaiming a partial message, but rather the entire message of God that through Jesus Christ salvation was made open to all people, Jews and Gentiles alike. Isn’t it liberating to realize that God’s secret plan (or mystery) is, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” God wants Christ to live in the hearts of all who believe in him – even people who are different from us. Do you know Christ? The mystery has been revealed. Jesus Christ is not hidden. He is the hope of glory! Just respond to his love and believe the mystery (gospel).
To whom will you share this mystery that salvation is available to all through faith in Jesus? Yes, Jesus lives in you because you believe the gospel. Do you have a friend who needs to hear this message? The gift of Christ is not just for a few of us. Christ has been offered for all peoples.
Prayer: Help me, Lord, to recognize your Spirit at work within me and grant that I may grow daily, inspired by your love, knowing that you provide the grace for spiritual maturity. Amen.