CHRIST BEING THE MYSTERY OF GOD
The King James Version renders the last part of 2:2 as “the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ.” This requires an evaluation of the different Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. Many manuscripts differ in their renderings. The King James Version was translated in 1611, and John Nelson Darby published his New Translation in the second half of the previous century. Some of the best and most trustworthy manuscripts were discovered in the last two centuries. By 1901 the translators of the American Standard Version had many good manuscripts in their hands, so we trust more in their decision of which term to use. The American Standard Version renders this verse, “The mystery of God, even Christ,” but the word even is not in the Greek text; it is supplied by the translators. Therefore, the best rendering of verse 2 is “the mystery of God, Christ.”
The Image of the Invisible God
The mystery of God is Christ Himself. This is a very significant word. God and His intention are great, profound, and mysterious, yet Christ is this mystery. This is far beyond our understanding. Nevertheless, according to the record of this book, we can point out three items related to Christ being the mystery of God. First, Christ is the very image of the invisible God (1:15). God Himself is invisible, so He is a mystery. We cannot see Him; neither can we understand this mystery. Moreover, what He intends to do is also a mystery. However, Colossians tell us that Christ is the image of the invisible God. An image is an expression; that Christ is the image of God means that He is the expression, the explanation, of what God is. As such, He is the Word of God. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” and verse 18 says, “No one has ever seen God; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” As the Word of God, Christ declares, defines, and expresses God.
The Fullness of the Godhead
Second, Colossians 2:9 says, “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” God is embodied in Christ; all that God is and has within Himself, that is, all the fullness of the Godhead, dwells in Christ bodily. Therefore, Christ is not only the expression, the image, of God but also the reality of God, the very embodiment of God. To find the meaning of fullness, we should not use our imagination but rather trace the usage of this word in the divine record. This takes us to John 1, where verse 14 says, “And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us…full of grace and reality,” and verse 16 says, “For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” His fullness is the fullness of God. Since the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ, we have all received of His fullness.
When the Son of God was incarnated as a man, with Him there was the fullness of God, and of this fullness we have all received. In order to know the items that we have received, we must further trace through the Gospel of John. John tells us that we receive life, light, the way, truth, food, and drink. All of these are only a few of the items of the fullness of God. All the fullness of God dwells in Christ, who is the very embodiment of God. He is the life, the light, the way, the reality, the food, and the drink. He is everything because the fullness of God is embodied in Him. He is the very embodiment of all the elements of God. What God is and what God has are embodied in Christ.
The Center of God’s Will
Christ is also the center of God’s will. All that God planned is related to Christ. Christ as the mystery of God includes these three matters—the image of God, the embodiment of God, and the very center of God’s will.
(General Sketch of the New Testament in the Light of Christ and the Church, A - Part 2: Romans through Philemon, Chapter 11, by Witness Lee)