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God’s Word for You

Colossians 2:3 all the treasures

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Tuesday, December 25, 2018

3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Paul criticizes those who cling to human “wisdom” and “knowledge” in 1 Corinthians: “The foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:25), and “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up” (1 Corinthians 8:1). Here he teaches that true wisdom and knowledge are actually found hidden in Christ. Our word “apocrypha” is the term Paul uses here, translated “hidden” (ἀπόκρυϕοι).

Few would be surprised to know that there are treasures of wisdom and knowledge in Christ. The ancient heresies of the Nestorians, Gnostics, and Pelagians all agreed that this was the case, but Paul is not taking any of his theology from any of them, since they either added human wisdom to the mystery of Christ or subtracted some of God’s own word about himself. Many of the Jews and Judaizers of Jesus’ day thought that Jesus was a great rabbi, but they, too, added to the word of God. It is said that Jesus Christ is the first man ever to be named a rabbi in any literature, Christian or Jewish; all other rabbis came after him (I have not investigated this claim myself). But Paul is not ranking Jesus alongside any rabbi. Jesus is a class to himself, far beyond any human teacher, school, or college.

Pay special attention to Paul’s word pantes (πάντες), “all.” Are there only a few remarkable baubles of wisdom in Christ? No! In Christ is all, all, all. There are no treasures of godly wisdom or knowledge that are to be found anywhere or in anyone apart from Christ. As Jesus himself said: “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

It is the same to say that the mystery of God is in Christ as it is to say that the mystery of God is hidden. Apart from Christ, the mystery is unsearchable, unknowable, and impenetrable. The knowledge of this mystery is revealed to us in Christ’s actions, and also in his words. It is an example of his divine, godly omniscience that he knows all of the hidden mysteries of God. We also have an example of the mystery revealed in his human nature, that he was able to suffer on our behalf and die to atone for our sins. His human nature, shared with us, is even seen in his resurrection from the dead, because Christ rose from the dead in his body of flesh, which he still has now, just as we will rise from the dead in our bodies of flesh, renewed and glorified by God.

Even in the conception and birth of Jesus we find mysteries revealed to us. How could Jesus have been conceived without a human father, and how could this have taken place without a sexual union? We struggle to answer, and yet there is Jesus, conceived, carried by a virgin girl, and born to that virgin. God the Father is acknowledged as Christ’s Father by everyone with faith in Christ (John 8:18), and yet an angel of the Lord truthfully explained to Joseph that “what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20). The Holy Spirit is a true spirit, having no physical form at all, and therefore there was no physical contact between God and Mary except through Jesus her Son, and this was only in his delivery as a baby and as she held him and nursed him as his mother. These are profound mysteries, and yet the proof is there in the physical body of Christ. We have Mary’s memory of the event recorded by Luke, the proclamation of the angels who do not lie, and of God who never deceives. God the Father said, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” (Mark 9:7).

Human knowledge and wisdom do not understand the value of Christ. But the Scriptures are clear. All sins—original sin and all other sins—are paid for by the one sacrifice of Jesus on the cross (Hebrews 9:28, 10:10). This was his purpose in coming into the world. This truth is the greatest treasure in all of God’s wisdom and the greatest item of knowledge we possess.

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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