Thursday, 6 April 2017
…the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. Colossians 1:26
Paul continues with words concerning his ministry. The previous verse, taken together with this one, says –
“…of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, 26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints.”
In fulfilling the word of God, “the mystery” that he now writes about becomes the subject. The explanation of what this mystery is comes in the next verse, it being the idea that salvation has come not only to the Jews, but to the Gentiles as well. Paul describes this as a “mystery.” In the Bible, a mystery is something which has been hidden in God’s wise counsel until a time when He determines to reveal it. It is something that could not be known apart from His special revelation.
Types, shadows, and pictures of it may be seen in the Old Testament, but until those were explained through the word of Christ, they remained hidden as mystery. The book of Jonah, for example, gives a picture of what Paul is referring to, but only by looking at the story through the lens of Christ Jesus can it be properly understood. Thus Paul says that the mystery “has been hidden from ages and generations.” Vincent’s Word Studies notes that this term includes, “The unit and the factors: the aeon or age being made up of generations.” He goes on to say that, “Before the beginning of the ages of the world the counsel of God was ordained, but not concealed, because there were no human beings from whom to conceal it. The concealment began from the beginning of the world, with the entrance of subjects to whom it could be a fact.”
In other words, God determined from eternity past what He would do, and the plan was fixed. However, it is a plan which He has kept unknown to His creatures until a set point when it would be revealed. This plan is now explained in the coming of Christ, and in the forgiveness of sins even to the Gentiles. Even those who walked with Jesus didn’t grasp it at first. This is seen, for example, in Acts 11 –
“When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, ‘Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.’” Acts 11:18
The mystery was hidden until a certain point. It was concealed, but it “now has been revealed to His saints.” Those in Acts 11 began to understand what was happening, but Christ selected Paul to be the one to fully reveal the mystery to the world through His writings. The saints, meaning the believers in Christ, can refer to Paul’s writings in order to fully grasp what has occurred and to look for proper doctrine in how to conduct themselves in the age of the revealed mystery.
Life application: Whether a Jew or a Gentile, you are a saint of God if you have called on Christ Jesus. Rejoice in what He has done for you. If a Jew, you are brought out from being under a heavy burden and are granted complete restoration with God through Christ. If a Gentile, without ever having been under the yoke of the law, you are brought directly into the people of God by simple faith in what He has done. Rejoice in this and give God the glory!
Heavenly Father, You have worked in history to restore all peoples to Yourself. In the giving of Your Son, we become saints through faith in what He has done. What a simple thing to receive, and yet it is an offer which is mocked and scorned by so many. Help us to be bold and proclaim the truth of Your word, never waffling in what it says. There is one way to reconciliation with You and that is through the work of Christ. Let us not set aside this grace, but to trust in it wholly and completely. To Your glory alone we pray. Amen.