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God’s Word for You

Colossians 1:25-26 The mysteries of God

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Tuesday, March 27, 2018

25 of which I became a minister by the office God gave to me for you, to present the word of God fully to you, 26 the mystery kept hidden for ages and generations, but now revealed to his saints.

The ministry of the gospel is an office that’s different from any other on earth. A public office in the world has its responsibilities to the people of one state or of one nation, or to a constitution, or to a set of laws. A business executive in a company—even one as large as Facebook (which has more users than there are people in China plus the United States plus any third nation you want to add)—is answerable to the shareholders but is also ethically responsible to every one of those users. But as Luther says, “worldly lordship is an image, shadow, or figure of the lordship of Christ. The office of preaching—where it exists as God ordained it—brings and bestows eternal righteousness, eternal peace, and eternal life…. Worldly government, on the other hands, preserves peace, justice and life, which is temporal and transient” (LW 46:237).

This ministry of the gospel presents, as Paul says, “the word of God fully to you, the mystery kept hidden for ages.” Our word “mystery” suggests something that a clever person can solve, if only he has enough clues, a pipe, and a deerstalker cap. But in the Bible, “mystery” means something different. The Hebrew word heqer (חֵקֶר) means something hidden, and known only to God (especially in Job, see Job 5:9, 8:8, 9:10, 11:7, 34:24, 35:26, 38:16; Isaiah 40:28; Psalm 145:3 and Proverbs 25:2). In the Aramaic part of the Old Testament, it is raz (רָז), “secret thing,” as in Daniel 2:18-19, 2:28-30, 2:47, 4:9. In the New Testament, we find the word mysterion (μυστήριον), something hidden away by God and which cannot be found out unless God reveals it to man. “He made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure” (Ephesians 1:9).

The mysteries of God are brought to light through the preaching of the gospel. Some of these mysteries remain closed to us in this lifetime. When this is the case, we should be content that God has done this for our sakes and for the good of his purpose for us.

God called Paul into this service directly. He said, “This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel” (Acts 9:15). Just as Paul revealed the teaching of the gospel and the mysteries of God to the Gentiles, so also your pastor, called into his office through the Holy Spirit, preaches them to you. Get into God’s house this week and listen. Be reminded of the meaning of the sacrament; be reminded of the suffering of the Savior; be reminded of the glory of the resurrection. The great mystery of life is not death, but the forgiveness of our sins through Jesus. When we are raised from the dead, all of the mysteries will be revealed.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.

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