The Mystery which Is Christ in You
The Christian faith is full of mysteries. Now we must define our terms. By “mystery,” we do not mean anything having to do with Sherlock Holmes or tales one might read about. A mystery in Scripture is some deep truth that has been revealed by God yet remains somewhat obscure—and that because of our inability to fully understand divine matters, both because of the nature of the truth which is too deep for human understanding and because of our sin which ever clouds our minds. Such truths include: the doctrine of the Trinity—that God is three in one and one in three; the Incarnation—that our Lord added our humanity to his divinity; the doctrine of election—that God brings his chosen ones to saving faith without violating their freedom of will. These are just a few. Our God being so far beyond human comprehension cannot disclose to us all the magnitude of His truth and glory; we must settle for what He does reveal which is enough to save us; indeed, even more, for in Christ whose mind is revealed to us through the Spirit’s enlightenment in the pages of Scripture are “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
Paul proclaims another mystery of the faith in this passage, simply that “God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” In other words, that God had ever intended to save not only Israel but the nations as well. This mystery was foreshadowed in Genesis 12:3 when God promised to Abraham “in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” This was a veiled reference to the coming of the Messiah who would come from Abraham’s loins for the sake of the world. In Christ, this prophecy was fulfilled. And so now, this mystery is revealed—and what a revelation: Christ in us, the hope of glory! We take this for granted but every Gentile (that’s us) should lift his hands in praise. This is not of ourselves but the gift of God. And yet, Christ in us, is still a mystery. Yes, he indwells us through his Holy Spirit, but still, is it not mind-boggling? And how much do we know of this “hope of glory?” We read wonderful things of it in Scripture, but we can only imagine how it will be.
And for this mystery—the gospel of Jesus Christ—Paul preached, warned, exhorted, and encouraged God’s people to grow into maturity. And this is the work of every pastor, that with all wisdom and sound teaching and preaching, he admonish the faithful to cling to Christ and make Christ their very life, their hope of glory. And this mystery beats Sherlock Holmes hands down.