By Jane Grivjak
The church today is in much need of hope. Not the hope that the world offers, but the eternal hope that comes from a relationship with the God of all Hope! The scriptures have much to say about this subject of hope and we will only be able to scratch the surface in these next few weeks but it is our fervent desire that each of you will be encouraged to walk in hope as we explore God’s word as it relates to this very important and vital subject.
I love a good mystery novel from time to time. It’s always so satisfying to solve a mystery before all the clues are revealed. Did you ever play the game Clue as a kid? The goal was to solve a murder by process of elimination…Mr. Green did his dirty deed in the Library with the Candlestick, might be a guess that would either be confirmed or excluded, depending on the other clues revealed as the game went on.
Jesus often spoke in parables (a type of mystery), which were a means by which He might veil the truth (make it not easily seen or understood) to the unbelieving world (Mark 4:11), often exposing the hidden truths to His disciples later on when they were alone together. When His disciples asked Him why He taught in parables, Jesus told them that, “to you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those on the outside, all things come in parables.”
In our study in the book of Hebrews, we saw that the promise of the Messiah was “afar off” (still veiled) to those who walked by faith, and yet they embraced the mystery until it could be revealed in the fullness of time.
The believers in Collose had seen the promise of Messiah ( the mystery) revealed and had embraced to glorious gospel to the saving of their souls. Now Paul is going to unveil another mystery that would take them beyond salvation. This revelation would show them the mystery of sanctification and how that would be manifested in their lives in order to bring glory to God.
Open to Colossians 1:24-29
The mystery that Paul revealed was that the gift of salvation was not just for the Jews, but was, through God’s glorious grace, being extended to the Gentiles! Paul’s ministry, according to Acts 9:15, was to bear the name of God to the Gentiles, kings and the Children of Israel. This extension of grace towards the Gentiles was prophesied by Simeon, as he took the infant, Jesus in his arms in the temple at his dedication:
Luke 2:29-32 "Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation
31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel."
Paul explains in detail this mystery in his letter to the Ephesians:
Eph 3:1-6 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—
2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God's grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God's holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
Paul is speaking to all of us in these passages!! We, who were once children of wrath, alienated, without hope are now brought near by the blood of Christ. (Eph 2:12) The dividing wall has been taken down for good.
This great mystery has been revealed to us. We have been given the ability to receive the things of God, things that the world cannot receive because those things of God are despised by the unbelieving.
Notice what Paul says about the wisdom of God and how it is revealed to us:
1 Cor 2:6-12 (Turn here) However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But as it is written:
"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him."
10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
God has revealed to us the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus!
We are no longer in held in the dark when it comes to the things of God. It has been given to us to know and understand the deep things of God. Our spiritual eyes have been opened through the Spirit!!
The mystery here in Colossians: Christ in you, the hope of glory.
When I considered this passage as our introduction into the subject of hope, my first impression was that it did not pertain to the future glory of Heaven, which is certainly something that we can hope in, but instead I considered that it was describing the glory that we, as believers, can give to God now as a result of our being transformed into the image of Christ. Is it not your hope that your life would bring glory, honor and praise to God during your stay on earth?
Let’s look at how Jamison, Faucet and Brown’s Commentary describes this mystery:
The mystery is Christ in you (pertains to the now, by faith, as in your hidden life) according to Colossians 3:3; “For you died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
The hope of glory (pertains to your hereafter manifested life) according to Ephesians 2:10; For you are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
In layman’s terms this verse means that if Christ is in you (the invisible), then your actions should be the evidence of that fact (the visible). This should bring God glory.
Just so we don’t misunderstand the order of things as it pertains to salvation and works, let’s read the following passage in order to see which comes first:
Eph 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
To wrap this up…notice that we are created IN CHRIST JESUS for good works…those works bring glory to the Father while we abide here on earth waiting for that future glory to be revealed.
In John 15, Jesus describes Himself as the True Vine and that we are the branches. He goes on to say:
John 15:5-6 He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
John 15:8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so, you will be My disciples.
Let’s take a few minutes to explore the word glory as it relates to God. I want to focus on glory because that is my hope---to bring God glory!!
The Evangelical Dictionary: God’s glory is the external manifestation of His being.
Everything He does-Everything He is-IS GLORIOUS
Strong’s definition: (because God is glorious) deserving of dignity, praise, honor or worship. I would also add that we find God’s glory described as splendor, majesty, excellence, magnificence, beauty, fame and holiness . These are all things in which we should hold Him in the highest esteem. (Glorify Him)
There are many examples of God’s presence exhibiting His glory in the OT.
Ex 16:10-The cloud and fire that led the children of Israel are described as God’s glory
Num 14:22-The plagues and miracles of the Exodus were manifestations of His glory
Ex 29-God’s glory rested on the Tabernacle in the wilderness
2Chron 7-God’s glory filled Solomon’s temple
Creation itself speaks of the glory of God (Ps 19). His mighty works through the ages also are worthy of praise, honor and glory (Luke 19:37).
All of these reflect the glory of God, but none compare to the reflection of glory that was revealed through His Son Jesus Christ.
John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
The writer of Hebrews describes Jesus as the “brightness of His glory and the express image of His person.” (Hebrews 1:3)
Jesus’ ministry, that was full of grace and truth, in its’ entirety…. the preaching, teaching, discipling, healing, and miracles, all were done to reflect glory to The Father…to give Him honor, praise and esteem.
But the highest manifestation of glory came through the atoning sacrifice Jesus freely gave through the cross that reconciled the entire world to the Father.
John 17:1-5 (Open here) Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
The most astounding thing is that the glory that Jesus reflected back on the Father has now been passed on to us!!
John 17:9 (Jesus talking about the disciples) "I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them.
John 17:20-23 "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
Because Christ is in you, the glory that rested on Him has now been extended to you!!
AW Tozer-God is looking for men in whose hands His glory is safe.
We live in a world that despises God’s glory. Paul clearly explains in Romans chapter one that God’s invisible attributes are clearly seen in nature. These evidences in creation are meant to be the proof of His eternal power and Godhead. The unbelieving world refuses to give God glory nor show gratitude for all the gifts He has freely given. This is evidence of the foolishness and darkness of their hearts. Paul goes on to say…
Romans 1:22-25 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man — and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore, God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
Because sinful man refuses to recognize and acknowledge the glory surrounding him, the natural consequence is corruption, decay and ultimately perishing. Paul describes the condition of sinful man as becoming more and more corrupt according to deceitful lusts that abide in him. We see this today in our culture, which lusts after outward beauty, prestige, riches, honor from men. Even though they may look like beautiful, successful, culturally hip individuals on the outside, they are decaying on the inside.
In contrast, we know that even though our outward man is perishing, our inward man is being renewed, day by day, as we abide in the incorruptible God. While the world is hyper focusing on the outward as an indication of vitality, God is focusing on our inward man, which, if it could be revealed, would look like a well-watered garden instead of a decaying wasteland.
As I survey the state of the world today, I often think of the contrast of Psalms 1 and Psalms 2. In Psalms 2 we see the picture of sinful man, shaking his fist at God and declaring, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us!” The psalmist proclaims that God sits in the heavens and laughs at them for their folly!
On the other hand, Psalms 1 describes the man who refuses to run with the ungodly….
Ps 1 Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.
4 The ungodly are not so,
But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6 For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Reflecting God’s glory in this broken world is what we are called to do, and as Tozer stated, God’s glory is safe with us!
Remember the story of Moses…. He was exposed to God’s glory, but it was temporary. When he returned from receiving the Law, he would put a veil over his face because it reflected God’s glory to the children of Israel and they were afraid to look upon it. Eventually, the glory reflected in Moses’ face would fade away. To us it has been given that, by His Spirit, which resides in us, that God’s glory would not fade, but increase in intensity as we abide in Him.
2 Cor 3:17-18 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
That glory, which God desires to be revealed in us may look different, depending on where He has called us to shine forth His light, but know that as you continue to yield to the Holy Spirit’s leading, He will use you to reflect God’s glory in amazing ways!!
Thus says the Lord:
"Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
24 But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these I delight," says the Lord.