Divine Mystery . . . Christ
My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ.
Before the apostle Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus, he was a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the Law a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church (Philippians 3:5-6). Meeting Jesus head-on provided the clues to complete understanding. If Paul could be converted, if he could know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, there was hope for any Jew. It would take revelation, mixed with brain power, based on facts, to unravel this perplexing question.
You see, this three-in-one God was an entirely foreign concept to both Jew and Gentile of the day. The Jews were definitely monotheistic (one God), and expected a Messiah anytime. They just hadn’t figured out that Christ would be God Himself. All the rest of the world were polytheistic (many gods)—they sure didn’t get the monotheistic Trinity. Unfortunately, false teachers were trying to eat away at fledgling doctrine by diminishing Christ from God to good—good man, good teacher, prophet, but not Messiah.
Paul’s desire, in writing to the Colossians, was to untie the knot of Christ’s divinity. Then they would have what he had, the full riches of complete understanding. In Greek, full riches is a superlative!
Paul’s A-ha! moment began with a personal encounter with Jesus. Next he spent three years between Arabia and Damascus, “to pray, study, and be alone with Jesus” (Holman NT commentary online). Later on he was “caught up to the third heaven…paradise”, where he heard “inexpressible things—surpassingly great revelations” (2 Corinthians 12:2-7). Talk about the inside scoop on the mystery of Christ.
We should be awed by Paul’s insight. It took time and intimacy with the Lord to nurture such richness. All is not lost though. You followed the clues to a personal encounter with Jesus. You will certainly enrich your comprehension of His divinity the more time you spend alone with Him, in His Word. And when you assimilate the biblical visions of paradise, you will be greatly encouraged by eternal hope.
To the extent that my mind can grasp, full riches are possible now; but I am also convinced they are a mere fraction of the fullness of heaven. Much mystery remains.