The Struggle and the Mystery
"For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."
Colossians 2:1-3 (ESV)
It is worth the struggle, but there is a struggle. Like Paul, we who proclaim the mystery explained in the gospel of Christ recognize that there is a battle going on as the accuser tries to nullify the effects of the message. The cross as God’s remedy for mankind’s dilemma is still controversial. It looks like defeat to those who want God to act on our behalf and defeat the enemy with explosive destruction. It is foolishness to those who believe we are far advanced from such primitive ideas as atonement and sacrificial death. We are much more comfortable with psychological techniques and philosophical concepts in coping with our issues. If we who represent the gospel get trapped in trying to compete on this level, we will lose heart.
Our families, friends, and congregations are not going to be transformed by our winning arguments against such distractions. The issue is spiritual, and we have the weapons of mass destruction in that arena. God has acted in Christ to forgive our sins, transform our hearts, and strip the enemy of his authority. We are told by the brother of our Lord to “Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee” (James 4:7). We submit to God when we yield to his authority and trust his judgment. He has declared that Jesus’ death was sufficient by raising him from the dead. He has affirmed that Jesus is now in total charge by sending the Spirit to live in his body both individually and corporately. We must not neglect to believe him.
We resist the devil by boldly proclaiming the truth of the gospel even when those listening don’t seem to hear. It is the word of God and will not stop until it has accomplished what he intends. It is a missile that cannot be stopped once it is launched. We resist the devil when we pray according to the truth of the gospel. We detect his work and expose it by announcing that it is subject to a higher authority. Our children and friends can be blessed as we struggle against the powers that seek to keep them enslaved by deception. Once they begin to grasp the mystery in Christ, they will discover all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge that are in him.