The grand narrative of Gods relationship with man as set out in the bible, details a definite sense of progressive revelation from the Old to the New Testament. Such grand doctrines as the Trinity, the New Covenant and God personally being the salvation of His people are all seen in the shadows of the Old Testament yet it is only in the New that we really see them in full color.
One such set of shadows hidden in the deepest part of the heart of our God are the Mysteries…
Consider the following scriptures:-
…I (Paul) became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God. The mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. – Colossians 1:25-28
…that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. – Colossians 2:2-3
In Paul’s gospel (as revealed to him by the Lord Jesus), Christ is revealed as the Mystery of God.
Yet it does not stop there; in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians in chapter 3:1-6 we see the Church revealed as the Mystery of Christ and in Ephesians 5:30-32 it is clear that union with Christ is the Mystery of the Church (see also 1 Corinthians 6:17). This is illustrated in the diagram below.
But there is yet another mystery to be revealed and this one is the real linchpin as all the other mysteries are revealed in this one…
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew, for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. - 1 Corinthians 2:7-8
1 Corinthians 1:18, 23-24 and 2:2 reveal that God has achieved all that He planned in His eternal purpose through Christ crucified, foolishness to the world, but to those who believe, the great power of God to salvation. Read those scriptures below and let them really sink in.
"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."
"But we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness. But to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God."
"For I determined not to know anything among you except Christ and Him crucified."
Note that these mysteries are the expression of the true wisdom of God, which is foolishness to the unregenerate:-
…Teaching every man with all wisdom - Colossians 1:28
…are hidden all the treasure of wisdom and knowledge… - Colossians 2:3
…we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery… which none of the rulers of this age has understood… - 1 Corinthians 2:7-8
Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God... - 1 Corinthians 1:24
Paul sums these four great mysteries up in Colossians 3:3 but in the opposite direction to that revealed in the diagram above.
For you have died and your life is hidden in with Christ in God.
“…for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ…” equals the mystery of the church.
“…hidden with Christ…” equals mystery of Christ.
“…with Christ in God…” equals mystery of God.
And what exactly is the grand purpose of these mysteries?
To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. - Colossians 1:27
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory - 1 Corinthians 2:7
Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him - 1 Corinthians 2:9
When Christ who is our life appears, then you will also appear with Him in glory. - Colossians 3:4