The mystery has been solved
Colossians 2: We’ve been shown the mystery!
A new church has started down the block and old First Church seems dull in comparison. New Church not only offers a different style of music, but there’s a lot of talk about amazing spiritual experiences and hitherto unknown secrets being revealed. The folks at First Church can’t help but notice what’s going on down the street. How come their pastor never tells them some of these secrets to success? Why doesn’t he lead them into the mysteries of the spiritual? Something like that is happening at Colossi and Laodicea. Those with a different approach to God have come to town claiming that their way unlocks doors that have before been locked. If the Christians listen to them they can go beyond where they are and press on to spiritual power and authority beyond what they’ve ever imagined. The Apostle tells them that that’s completely wrong. The great mystery, the wonderful secret to spiritual power and success has already been explained to them. It can all be summed up in one name: “Jesus.” To be connected to him is to be connected to all there is of God. He warns them that to rush off down some other road is a “wild-goose chase.” Paul urges them to focus only on Jesus and, in him to be dominated by the love of God. The mystery has been solved and the secret has been revealed. His name is Jesus.
Take Away: Our religion isn’t bound up in mysteries. Rather it’s all about relationship: knowing Jesus as Savior, Lord, and Friend.
God doing something new
Isaiah 65: I’m creating new heavens and a new earth.
This is an interesting passage. Later on, the Revelator will remember these words when the Lord describes to him what’s coming at the end of time. In fact, some think that Isaiah is having a vision of the same thing John sees in Revelation. However, left in context Isaiah’s describing the end of the exile of his people; the return to their beloved Jerusalem. The language is that of poetry: God’s doing something new and is, therefore changing everything. Life’s going to be much better than it has been. Wonderful blessings are in store. I think this is another dual prophecy. Isaiah’s speaking to current events, describing things in a big way but unaware that his words will literally come true in his (and our) distant future. If I leave things there, I still find the transformational language of Isaiah quite interesting. The Lord is bringing salvation to his people and as a result, everything’s going to change for the better. However, at an entirely different level than Isaiah speaking to his contemporaries or John writing about the New Jerusalem I find myself thinking of the change Christ makes when he bring salvation to an individual’s life. When I’m forgiven of my sins and become a child of God “all things become new.” If Isaiah’s view of the restoration of Israel brings to mind visions of “new heavens and a new earth” I don’t think that it’s off base to find a parallel to the radical transformation being “born again” brings to each life.
Take Away: The Lord doesn’t just forgive us our sins – he also goes to work in us, transforming our lives, remaking us in wonderful ways.