Message 3 of 8 in our series on Colossians, Enough.
Religious communities are notorious for separating insiders from outsiders. But when Jesus came, everything changed.
In Colossians 1:24-2:5, the Apostle Paul reveals the “mystery” of God’s plan from the beginning of time. The people of God in the Old Testament (OT) – the nation of Israel – felt special to have been singled out and given so much attention by God. But when Jesus came, things started changing. The offer of connection with God – and the hope and freedom that comes with it – started reaching well beyond the Jewish community into all the world.
Christ Can Live in Anyone Who Believes
For centuries, the Jewish people had suffered because of their unfaithfulness to God. After returning to Israel from exile in Babylon, they were ready to take God seriously and keep the covenant He made with Israel. But then Jesus came and said that this old covenant was changing.
Colossians 1:26-27 This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people. For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too.
Now, God was calling all people to Himself – Jew and Gentile alike. This “mysterious” new covenant wasn’t about being Jewish, but about believing in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:22; Ephesians 3:6).
The Heart of the Message Is Christ Himself
The heart of this mysterious new message is not impersonal religious devotion like the religious leaders of Jesus’s day had, but personal relationship with Jesus Christ that His earliest followers had.
Colossians 1:27 And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.
Authentic, Personal Faith Can Give Believers Complete Confidence
The assurance Christians have isn’t based on their religious observance or their unique religious traditions, but on their connection to the source of their faith – Jesus Himself. Assurance comes from Christ in us (Ephesians 1:12-14).
Colossians 2:2 I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself.
The results of this faith are the changed lives God wants for all of us (Colossians 2:5). This is a work God does in us through His Holy Spirit and is the evidence of a changed heart.
The good news about this good news is that our confidence is not in our own performance, devotion, or knowledge but in the person of Jesus Christ and His performance, devotion, and knowledge.
Because of Jesus, we don’t have to jump through religious hoops, compete with others, or live in fear. The great mystery is that God wants to be in relationship with everyone who will believe in Him – and that includes all of us. But will we accept God’s invitation?
Article for this topic by Daniel Martin.
- What is your initial reaction to this topic? What jumped out at you
- Have you ever felt excluded from a group? What happened?
- Why do you think religious communities tend to separate insiders from outsiders?
- What are some of the reasons that you think people end up as outsiders?
- Read Colossians 1:24-27. In your own words, explain the secret of the gospel. Why do you think God kept it secret for so long?
- According to Ephesians 2:8-9, how is a person saved? Why is the answer to that question so wonderful?
- Read Colossians 2:2. In what way does knowing Jesus give you confidence?
- “The great mystery,” Paul is revealing here is that Christ wants to live in you. How does the reality of Christ living in us change our lives in positive ways?
- Paul rejoices because the faith of the Colossians was strong. Share a time when your faith in God was strong.
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.