Pastor Randy’s Top 66 – Colossians
“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory”. Colossians 1:27
Once again, so many powerful and encouraging verses to chose from in Paul’s Letter to the Christians at Colossae, but I decided to go with one that isn’t spoken about often, and I haven’t spoken about in different ways in the other verses I have written about.
When the scriptures, especially the New Testament, speak of a mystery, it isn’t referring to some dark and mystical doctrine or belief that is only known to the spiritual elite like the Gnostics, or the modern day Gnostics – the Mormons – would have you believe. A mystery is simply something that was hidden in the Old Covenant, but is now revealed in the New Covenant, and the mystery Paul is talking about here in this Colossians reference is how the Gentiles, by God’s calling, grace, and mercy, would be allowed to be a part of the Kingdom of God.
The Jews thought they were the chosen people alone, but we see through the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles, that a true Jew – one truly chosen to be in God’s Family – are those who have had their heart spiritually circumcised by the Spirit of God through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The mystery that God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles is Christ in you(assuming you are one of the ‘Gentiles, who has come to faith in Christ’). I have a feeling you might not be getting it yet, so let me say it another way.
The Church in Colossae, just as the city itself, was a mixture of Jews and Gentiles. The Old Testament predicted the coming of the Messiah, but the idea that He would actually live in His redeemed church, made up mostly of Gentiles, was not revealed at that time. The New Testament is clear that Christ, by the Holy Spirit, takes up permanent residence in all believers, so this idea of ‘Christ in you’ was an extremely radical idea. And of course it was, since the Jews were looking for a warring Messiah that would defeat Rome and set them free from their political oppression. The idea that the Jews (or Gentiles) would be set free spiritually through the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ was not on their radar.
And not only would Christ live within the hearts and lives of His children – converted Jews and Gentiles – but He would be their ‘hope of glory’. Now, that’s the big question: What is this ‘hope of glory’?
First, let’s take a look at this word hope. Christians and non-Christians alike confuse this word as it is used in the biblical sense because they confuse it with the standard definition that we have for hope in our English language. ‘Hope’ as we know it in modern vernacular means ‘wishful thinking’ or ‘a desire for something that may or may not happen. “I ‘hope’ it doesn’t rain today because we have a picnic planned.” It is my desire or wish that it not rain, but I have no control over whether it does or not.
This kind of hope – this wishful thinking – this desire for something to happen or not happen – is NOTHING like the biblical hope that the Bible writers talk about. We make a grave error when we try to interchange the two words. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus prayed that this plan of crucifixion might be passed from Him, but He never ‘hoped’ or desired or wished that it wouldn’t happen. What do you do with the verse in Hebrews 12:2 that says,
“…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Although Jesus the human was struggling with what was about to occur to Him upon the cross, He never once ‘hoped’ it wouldn’t happen! ‘For the joy set before Him He endured the cross’ – it was a joy for Christ (not masochistically, but sacrificially) to lay down His life for the sheep. We then read in John 10:18,
“No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord.
I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.
This charge I have received from My Father.”
God the Father didn’t ‘make’ Jesus die on the cross, nor did Jesus reluctantly go to the cross for us. No one took His life, but He laid it down on His own accord. So no, Jesus didn’t ‘hope’ God the Father would come up with a better plan and was disappointed when He quickly discovered that He wasn’t getting out of this mess.
Again, Christians make the grave mistake when they think that just because a word is in the Bible – such as ‘hope’ – then they can apply that incorrectly to their every day life. “Oh, the Bible tells me to have hope in Christ”, so I hope that I am healed of this cancer, so I’m sure I’m healed of it.” That’s not biblical hope – that’s foolishness.
So, what is biblical hope and why does Paul say that this mystery is that Christ is in hearts/lives of Jews and Gentiles alike, and His presence within us gives us or is the hope of glory?
Biblical hope is the confident expectation that what God has promised WILL come to pass. I have ‘faith’, or I trust in Christ, and that faith brings me the hope of Heaven, meaning that because I am in Christ – because I have been saved by God’s grace and His grace alone – then I confidently expect to see my Lord face to face. It is THAT hope that keeps me going. I don’t ‘hope’ I’ll get to see Jesus one day, meaning that I may or may NOT see Jesus. No, no, no! As the old Gospel hymn says it, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness”! Well, what does THAT mean? It means that I confidently expect to see Jesus and spend eternity with Him – NOT because of my good works which are speculative – but my confident expectation is build on Christ’s finished work of the cross – His shed blood and His imputed righteousness within me. I need to be righteous in order to spend eternity with my Triune God, but my personal righteousness will never ever cut the cake; I must have Jesus’ righteousness. That’s what my HOPE is in. And I’m confident about that, not because I’m so cocky, but because Christ’s work on the cross was absolutely efficient and sufficient to make me righteous!
So, when we see the word ‘hope’ in the New Testament it most often is speaking about the benefits of Heaven. Because ‘Christ is in you, He is our Hope of glory’ – I confidently expect to be glorified in Christ because Christ is in me! He is my confident expectation (hope) of my glorification!!
Here’s another great ‘hope’ verse concerning eternity – 1 Peter 1:3-4.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His
great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and
into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.
This inheritance is kept in heaven for you…”.
Wow! There you go!!! Because of God’s great mercy we are born again, and we are born again INTO A LIVING HOPE through Christ’s resurrection, which guarantees OUR resurrection; and this inheritance CAN NEVER PERISH, SPOIL OR FADE (so we can confident expect to be glorified in the presence of the Lord). And you know why we can confidently expect – hope – that all of this WILL COME TRUE? Because verse four ends by saying that ‘This inheritance – this new birth – this eternal life – is KEPT IN HEAVEN FOR YOU!! Think about that!!
You put your money in the bank and you HOPE it will be secure, but you don’t have the 100% guarantee that it’ll be there when you want it. But our biblical HOPE is secure in the Bank of Heaven, so we will absolutely see Jesus face to face. That’s hope! That’s confident expectation!
Here’s the biblical proof that biblical hope is NOTHING like our ‘wishing thinking’ or ‘desire for something to happen or not happen’, but is instead all about our confident expectation that we will be living with Jesus on a new earth. Romans 8:24-25,
For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope.
For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do
not see, we wait for it with patience.
Why were we saved? Many reasons, but ONE of them is so that we can be with Jesus forever. But once we come to faith and are saved, we don’t immediately ‘see’ our heavenly home or see Jesus, because if we did it wouldn’t be ‘hope’, because hope is the confident expectation that what has been promised WILL come about. So, we don’t hope for what we see because it’s right there in front of us, but we hope for what we know we will have or get or receive (eternal life with Jesus) but have not seen as of yet. So, we live out our Christian life patiently awaiting for our hope to be made complete when we see Jesus.
So, I ‘hope’ (wishful thinking – a desire on my part) that you now understand better what biblical hope is all about. If you have come to faith in Christ, then you don’t have to wonder if you’ll see Jesus, we have the confident expectation because Christ is in us that we WILL see Him face to face. Remember these amazing words from Romans 8:28-30,
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those
who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed
to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among
many brothers and sisters. And those He predestined,
He also called; those He called, He also justified;
those He justified, He also glorified.
If you have been called, then you WILL be justified. If you are then JUSTIFIED (born again), you WILL be glorified. That’s ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory’!