The Mystery of Christ in Christian Believer

 [ Masterweb Reports ] – I love a mystery. I enjoy a baffling exceptionally well-written mystery. Authentic Christianity is an inexplicable mystery to many people. That is because Christ is a mystery. Because of our intimate personal relationship with Him we are a mystery to the world. Those who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ will not and cannot be expected to understand the true Christian until they, too, have a saving knowledge of Him. A. W. Tozer got to the heart of this mystery when he wrote that Christians are crazy in Roots of Righteousness:  "A real Christian is an odd number anyway. He feels supreme love for One whom he has never seen, talks familiarly every day to Someone he cannot see, expects to go to heaven on the virtue of Another, empties himself in order to be full, admits he is wrong so he can be declared right, goes down in order to get up, is strong when he is weakest, richest when he is poorest, and happiest when he feels worst. He dies so he can live, forsakes in order to have, gives away so he can keep, sees the invisible, hears the inaudible, and knows that which passes knowledge."

 

Christians are meant to be different, and we are in good company. Can you imagine Christ in all His glorious riches actually dwelling through His Spirit in our lives right now? God’s goal is to make us in all respects just like Christ. God is at work. He is sovereign. He is busy changing lives and the way He does it is a mystery. Tell me a mystery. The apostle Paul even said that Christ is God’s mystery (Col. 2:2). The good news we share with the world is “the mystery of Christ” (Col. 4:3). Paul uses the word “mystery” not as we do in our day, but in the context of his day and age. The word “mystery” in the Scriptures is a secret, a truth undiscoverable, except by divine revelation. It is a fact that cannot be understood in detail without divine help. It cannot be known by natural abilities and mental powers. It was a truth that was hidden in the counsels of God down through the ages and generations until God in His grace chose to make it known to mankind by divine revelation. The apostle Paul says, “the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations; but has now been manifested to His saints” (Col. 1:26). It was concealed from angels and men until God revealed it. The only way of knowing this “mystery” is through a self-revelation of God to man. God revealed a great mystery to the apostle Paul. God made it visible or known to man.

 

If Paul has in mind the heathen use of “mystery” whose secrets were kept confined in a strict narrow circle of initiated members of their society, then he tells us that the Christian mystery in Christ is just the opposite because it is fully declared and proclaimed in the open to everyone in the world. God has revealed His deep secret to all mankind by means of His special revelation. There are no secrets with God. He has fully revealed Himself in Christ. The deep mystery is that God has granted free admission of all Gentiles on equal terms with the Jewish believers to all the privileges of the covenant. God has now told His secret to all His saints. God’s riches are no longer limited by national ties. God has done this according to the riches of His grace.  The context of this great passage on God’s mystery in Christ is the church as the body of Christ (Col. 1:24). For some it is strange to say that the apostle can “rejoice in my sufferings for your sake.” The apostle had learned the joy in Christ in times of suffering (Phil. 4:4). In fact, verse 24 is a great outburst of thanksgiving to God for the privilege of suffering “on behalf of His body.” There is a sense of purpose in his experience. “I am filling up in my turn the left-overs of the tribulations of Christ in my flesh.” Genuine Christians are strange, indeed. Does Paul’s suffering have any atoning value for his sins? No. Do our sorrows have any atoning value for our sins? No, of course not. We do not come adding any virtue or merit to the completed work of Christ. Christ’s work of atonement for sin is complete. It was completed when Christ declared from the cross, “It is finished!” We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

 

The Christian’s suffering is on a different level from that endured by Christ on the cross. Punishment for sin is not in view here. The sufferings of Christ alone have atoning value for the sinner. Ours do not. It is part of our stewardship. We suffer troubles, afflictions, tribulations and persecutions because of our identification with Christ (Matt. 5:10-12). The afflictions of the church are also the afflictions of Christ (Acts 9:4-5). The person who persecutes the church persecutes Christ. When believers suffer, Christ suffers. It is this stewardship as a member of the family of God that he was “made a minister” on behalf of the church. God assigned him the task of fully proclaiming God’s message to the known world. The call of God was to preach without reserve the whole gospel of God to the ends of the earth. Paul now proceeds to tell us about that great responsibility that was thrust upon him and every Christian minister (Col. 1:25). The Mystery Of Christ In You: In Jesus Christ are summed up everything we can know about God and His eternal purposes. In Christ we see the riches of God’s glory, wisdom and grace (Rom. 9:23; 11:33; Eph. 1:7, 18; 2:7; 3:16; Phil. 4:19). Christ is a mystery: The gospel is a mystery of mysteries. Christ is Himself the grand mystery of redemption. It is the majestic secret of God with us. It is the glorious manifestation of God’s dealings with mankind. The Holy Spirit takes the revealed Word of God and illumines us individually. We are made gloriously wealthy by this mystery.

 

C. H. Spurgeon said: "Each separate individual must have Christ revealed to him and in him by the work of the Holy Spirit, or else he will remain in darkness even in the midst of the gospel day. Blessed and happy are they to whom the Lord has laid open the divine secret which prophets and kings could not discover, which angels desired to look into. “Without controversy,” said the apostle Paul, “great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh.” The Lord Jesus is crowned with “glory as of the Only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” He is “the brightness of the Father’s glory.” We have “unsearchable riches in Christ” because “in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” As Spurgeon noted: “Oh, the riches of the grace of God which it has pleased the Father to impart unto us in Christ Jesus! Christ is the ‘mystery,’ the ‘riches,’ and the ‘glory.’ He is all this . . . He is all this among us poor Gentiles . . . and we are made heirs of God. . . . All things are ours in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The essence of the mystery is Christ Himself in His person. It is Christ in all His glorious riches actually dwelling through His Spirit in the inner lives of His believers. The incarnation of Christ is a mystery: The incarnation of Christ is a deep mystery. It was born in the unsearchable wise mind of God. The idea of “Immanuel, God with us” was conceived in the omnipotent omniscient mind of God. Every regenerated mind delights in this vital union between God and man. The apostle Paul tells us another mystery. Let the quotable Spurgeon say it for us. “Our Lord’s person is at this day constituted in the same manner. He is still God and man; still He can sympathize with our manhood to the full, for He is bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh; and yet He can help us without limit, seeing He is equal with the Father. Though manifestly divine, yet Jesus is none the less human; though truly man, He is none the less divine, and this is the door of hope to us, a fountain of consolation which never ceases to flow.”

 

Very God—very man. God incarnate became a vicarious substitute for sin and died and rose again. The death of Christ is a mystery. Since the incarnation is a great mystery we are ever mindful of the great mystery of His death. That the Son of God should die as a substitute for our sins is quite beyond us. He humbled Himself and became a servant, and died as our substitute on a cross. He bore our terrible load of sin on the cross that we might never bear the Father’s righteous wrath. He took the cup of wrath that we ought to have drunk forever and drained it dry. He bore our punishment in His death. He redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us. Moreover, He has made everything right and safe for us with God the Father by making an end of sin and an everlasting righteousness on our behalf with the Father. The finished work of Jesus Christ is a grand mystery. Jesus Christ is all my righteousness. He is all my salvation and all my desire. The resurrection and ascension of Christ is a grand mystery. On the other hand since He is the second person of the Godhead, the Son of God, the eternal Word of God, should we be in the least surprised that He sho

 
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