Let’s read Colossians 1:24-27, “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (NKJV).

The day the Apostle Paul was saved, the Lord Jesus said of him, “He is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him many things he must suffer for My name’s sake” (Acts 9:15-16). Many years later he was sitting in a Roman prison suffering, as we saw in Colossians 1:24, “for the sake of His body, which is the church.” He had been faithful in obeying Christ’s commission to “bear Christ’s name before Gentiles” with the greatest message the world has ever heard, the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Included in the gospel was the truth of “the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations.” The word “mystery” doesn’t refer to something “mysterious,” but rather to a truth that God had chosen to conceal during Old Testament times. It was given especially to the Apostle Paul to reveal this mystery and in doing so, he would “fulfill (complete)” the Word of God. He was not the last inspired writer of the Bible, but he was privileged to disclose a truth that would complete the last great doctrine that we call “the faith” (all the doctrines that make up the truth of Christianity). Jude speaks of this in Jude 3, “I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for THE FAITH which was once for all delivered to the saints.”

So, what exactly is the mystery? Colossians 1:27 provides the answer, “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of THIS MYSTERY among the Gentiles: which is CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY.” In the Old Testament God was pleased to dwell WITH His earthly people, Israel, and to bless the Gentile nations through them. But after Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension to glory God was pleased to bless the Gentiles in a way that no one would have ever dreamed of before. Christ would “dwell IN the hearts” of every Gentile who trusted in Him as their Savior! Of course there would also be Jews who would believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation and they too would be indwelt by Christ. Together they would make up “the church, which is His body” (see Ephesians 1:22-23). They would be a “heavenly people” with “heavenly blessings” and a “heavenly destiny.” Christ’s presence in them was “the hope of glory”; that is, it was their guarantee that they would one day enter into heaven where He also dwells!

This grand truth of Christ living in believers who comprise the church was alluded to by Jesus in John 15:5, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I IN HIM, bears much fruit.” Each believer can echo the words of the Apostle Paul in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but CHRIST LIVES IN ME.” And some glorious day, the Lord Jesus will come to receive all believers to Himself and we will then be “in heaven where He dwells” (see John 14:2-3). This is the church’s “blessed hope” (see Titus 2:13). Let us (all believers) praise Him every day for taking up residence IN US and by doing so giving us “the hope of glory.” (303.3) (DO)