God’s Word for You
Colossians 2:1-2 the mystery of God
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Monday, December 24, 2018
2:1 I want you to know how great a struggle I have been having on your behalf and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not seen me personally, 2 with the purpose that their hearts may be encouraged and that they would be united in love and into all the wealth of the certainty of understanding. I do this so that that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ,
Paul proclaims that his struggle was on behalf of the Colossians and others firstly because he hadn’t been there yet, and he wanted them to know that he was thinking of them and laboring on their behalf even though they didn’t even know what he looked like yet.
Paul’s whole desire was to encourage these Christians even though he had not met them yet. He wanted to share with them “the mystery of God, namely, Christ.” A mystery in the Bible is something which cannot be realized or understood by human means. It can only be revealed by God. The mystery of God himself is the mystery of God’s grace to man. How is it possible? Whole races and nations of men have labored to figure out their relationship with God, but if their ancestors rejected the gospel at some point, then the whole nation has lost it until the preaching of the gospel returns to them. For example, take the Colossians themselves. The people of Colosse were descended in their remote past from one of the sons of Noah. This was probably from Javan or Meshech, sons of Japheth (Genesis 10:2-4; 1 Chronicles 1:5-7). But their ancestors turned away from the preaching of Noah and Shem, and they adopted a pagan religion that worshiped many gods like the other Greeks and people of Asia Minor. Their fear of God turned into terror of the gods, gods whom they wanted to control by reducing them in their stories, songs, and plays to comic or flawed creatures no better than man. Indeed, the Laodiceans Paul mentioned lived in a city named for the mythological Laodice (‘Justice of the People’), also called Electra, the daughter of Agamemnon (commander of the army that attacked Troy) and his wife Clytemnestra. Colosse’s name has entered into many other languages because of the gigantic statues constructed there.
The true identity of God and the truth behind the mystery of God is Christ. In what way is God merciful? He sent Christ to redeem us from our sins and to atone for them (Daniel 9:24; 1 John 2:2). God sent his Son as the one who would turn aside his wrath, taking away our sins (1 John 4:10). In what way is God generous? He gives food to the hungry (Psalm 146:7) and his grace to the humble (Proverbs 3:34). He also “gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness” (Ecclesiastes 2:26). Why does God have mercy on mankind when he condemned the wicked angels who fell? This we must ask him in heaven, because he has not revealed it to us. But we have his word, his holy word, that tells us that he has had mercy to us. “In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).
Everything in the life of Jesus, from his birth outside the inn in Bethlehem to his death and resurrection outside the walls of Jerusalem has brought us into the mansions he has prepared for us in heaven. This is the mystery of God: that he would do this to save sinners. To save us! And he did.
Pastor Timothy Smith
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