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The message is simple. The message is Jesus, the anointed Messiah, King of God’s world.

  • It is only about Jesus.
  • I cannot add to that, and I can’t take away from that.
  • That focus will lead to maturity.

The mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is the Messiah in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in the Messiah. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

ESV (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Col 1:26–29

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Had Paul compromised with the Jews and stopped ministering to the Gentiles, he could have been spared a great deal of suffering. But he could not abandon his calling just for personal safety and comfort. He had been made a minister by God; he had been given a “stewardship” (dispensation) and he had to be faithful to his calling.

  • It was not a matter of choice: he was called to fulfill the Word of God.
  • This can mean, “I must preach the Word fully and not compromise any truth.”
  • It can also mean, “I am commissioned by God’s Word, and I must be faithful to discharge my office.”

Paul’s special message regarding the Gentiles had to do with what he called the mystery. To us today, a mystery is something eerie and frightening; but this was not the way the word was defined in Paul’s day. The false teachers used this word to describe the inner secrets of their religions. A mystery is a “sacred secret,” hidden in the past and now revealed by the Holy Spirit.

Jesus the Messiah came to earth, was rejected by His people, and was crucified. He arose again and returned to heaven. Did this mean that God’s promised kingdom for Israel was now abandoned? No, because God had initiated a new program—His mystery—that was not explained by the Old Testament prophets. The mystery is that today God is uniting Jews and Gentiles in the church. When the church is completed, then Jesus will return and take His people to heaven. Then He will again deal with Israel as a nation and set up the promised kingdom.

Imagine what this message meant to the Gentiles. They were no longer excluded from the glory and riches of God’s grace! During the Old Testament dispensation, a Gentile had to become a Jewish proselyte to share in the blessings of Israel. But in the new dispensation, Jews and Gentiles alike are saved by faith in Jesus. No wonder the Jewish false teachers opposed Paul. He dared to say, “There is no difference!”

Bonus Content: Check out this supplemental content about “The Mystery of God’s Plan”. It adds context to this article. If you like it, please consider subscribing to the channel on YouTube.

Source: Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 121–122.