Christ Himself Col. 2:1-3
“For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face, that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
“And as our faith stands in need of directions and boundaries to be given to it in this holy duty, it will direct our faith to consider Jesus Christ present among us, by his Spirit and by his word, making this tender or this exhibition unto us. It is Christ that does it; which calls out our faith unto an immediate exercise on his person.1”
By Reverend Ray
The Apostle Paul, in writing to the church at Colossae, was cognizant of outside influences that were attempting to weasel their way into the minds and hearts of the Christian body.
Gnosticism, though varied and complex, was a form of external influence that harassed the church and drew the attention of several of the writers of the New Testament, including the Apostle John and Paul in his epistles.
Central to Gnosticism was the idea of gnosis (esoteric knowledge of spiritual truth held by the ancient Gnostics to be essential to salvation), in other words, it was some special knowledge believed to be received through a mystical deposit of the divine substance into a man.
As it is noted by the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church; “But into the constitution of some men there had entered a seed or spark of Divine spiritual substance, and through ‘gnosis’ and the rites associated with it this spiritual element might be rescued from its evil material environment and assured of a return to its home in the Divine Being2”
So, it might be stated that the Church and its orthodox teachings have long come under the attack of mystical and mythological philosophies that have attempted to cloud and corrupt the truth of the mystery of God.
For this reason, Paul makes a commanding statement to the church at Colossae that is intended to both refute the heresies of gnostic teaching and clearly define who is the centerpiece of their faith, which is “Christ Himself.” Paul identifies Christ as the person in whom, all wisdom and knowledge are hid.
This is important to understand from the mind of the New Testament Gentiles, as with much of the ancient world, that a name meant more than just a title or designation.
The name encompassed both the essential and historical qualities of the individual. Paul is stating emphatically that Christ, the man, is Christ, the Son of God.
He is the incarnate, Son of God who walked physically and literally in human form upon the earth, suffering the death of the cross in satisfaction of the wrath of holy God.
Furthermore, Paul infers the true intellectual value inherent in Christ with phrases such as; “all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
Paul is expressing the broadest possible terms of true salvation.
It is the true knowledge of Christ that is accessible to all and anyone who will search the Scripture record of the account of the life of Jesus Christ.
It is not some esoteric experience or knowledge that is only accessible to the few.
Paul is expressing that his desire is for even those who have never seen him face to face would embrace the great truth of Christ, Himself.
It is not the exclusive privilege of the few who had personally encountered him.
It is this statement that opens the door to all across every age, every cultural experience the same access to the only valid source of eternal salvation and cements the vivacity of the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
It is Christ, Himself that is the mystery of God, not some exclusive knowledge to the few.
How rich is your knowledge of Christ? That is the only question that will matter in eternity.
Dribble from the pen
1 Owen, J. (n.d.). The works of John Owen. (W. H. Goold, Ed.) (Vol. 8, p. 589). Edinburgh: T&T Clark.
2 Cross, F. L., & Livingstone, E. A. (Eds.). (2005). In The Oxford dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd ed. rev., p. 687). Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.