Colossians 1:24-26

Rejoice in suffering. To complete the Word of God. The hidden mystery now revealed.

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"24Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I fill up in my physical body – for the sake of his body, the church – what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ." (Colossians 1:24)
All you have to do is look around the Christian landscape, particularly the congregations of health-and-wealth gospel churches, to see a large crowd of longing ears eager to hear promises of abundant life. You will never hear a message about suffering, let alone rejoicing in it, in these churches.

You will hear mostly messages about overcoming, conquering, confidence, self-affirmation, and other self-help ideas in these health-and-wealth churches, but their focus is on the benefit to their flesh. The gospel of Jesus Christ, on the other hand, uses the same terminology but focuses on the forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and God’s righteousness.

For if only in this life we have hope in Christ, we should be pitied more than anyone. (1 Corinthians 15:19)

As a matter of fact, at the beginning of Colossians, chapter 1, verse 5, Paul wrote this:

5Your faith and love have arisen from the hope laid up for you in heaven, which you have heard about in the message of truth, the gospel that has come to you.” (Colossians 1:5)

Faith in Christ and love for the brethren are produced by the hope of heaven, not the here and now. This hope will not be disappointed.


25I became a servant of the church according to the stewardship from God – given to me for you – in order to complete the word of God (Colossians 1:25—NET)

During our Sunday School class, I posed a question to the class members so that we could all think about it: What if God did not give us any of Paul’s letters? What would become of our faith? We pondered a Christian life under the oppressive weight of the law. We were astounded by our newfound understanding of God’s grace as a result of Paul’s writings.

Without God’s provision of Paul’s writings, his message of salvation would be incomplete. Though Jesus came to introduce mankind to a new and living way to God through his body on the cross, on the road to Damascus, he gave Paul a wonderful message that Paul later wrote in the form of letters to the churches. The message is about trusting in what he did on the cross rather than relying on the law, which cannot bring about reconciliation with God.

These letters conclude God’s Word. We would still be subject to the law if they did not exist. The Old Covenant would have continued to govern those seeking to enter God’s kingdom in their hearts and minds. Many people would not have realized that the law could not provide them with God’s righteousness. The primary but hopeless means of entering heaven would remain the power of the flesh.

However, thanks to Paul’s writings, the key to God’s salvation is now available. God’s plan for man’s salvation can be realized.


26that is, the mystery that has been kept hidden from ages and generations, but has now been revealed to his saints. (Colossians 1:26)

There is no doubt in my mind God knew man would sin in the Garden of Eden, so from his eternal mind he already prepared a plan to save them, but he kept it hidden until Christ’s death and resurrection.

Nghi Nguyen

- Scripture quoted by permission. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: This is my own opinion on the topic, which does not necessarily reflect the church's theology, or beliefs of the individuals in it — Nghi Nguyen

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