"the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Colossians 1:26-27)Though, for millennia, the will and purpose of God has been simply declared through the recorded scriptures, parts of His plan have been hidden from our minds and understanding until the time of their fulfillment has arrived. While revealing the future to Daniel God says, "But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end." (Daniel 12:4 NKJV) The words of Daniel were written down, but their meaning was veiled, hidden until the time of the end, hidden until the time of their revealing. We also see in the revelation to John that there was a book sealed with seven seals; hiding the truth within. "I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, 'Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?'" (Revelation 5:1-2) John weeps because there is no one found in heaven or on worth who was worthy to open the book and reveal its secrets. Finally, however, someone steps forward, "behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals." (Revelation 5:5) With the breaking of the seals, new meaning springs forth from what was written inside. Jesus has become the one who is worthy to reveal what had previously been hidden.
For thousands of years, the Gospel hid in plain sight; a secret that would one day be made plain and apparent with His birth, death, and resurrection. Now this secret has been revealed to all His saints and, through them, His secret is now being proclaimed to the world for all to receive and understand. To those who receive and understand this secret, this secret comes to them as great riches.
The Greek word used here for "riches" can also be translated as "wealth." We can view riches from the standpoint of either value or wealth. If I place one million dollars worth of gold on the table then we can say that its value is one million dollars. However, if I take the gold and make it my own then my wealth has increased by one million dollars. The Gospel has great value, but it is only when we receive it and make it ours that it brings wealth to our souls and our lives. Many have heard the Gospel and understood its value but, in their rejection of it, they have remained just as poor as they were before. It's only when we respond to its message and make it our own that we become rich and our lives more abundant.
So what is this great mystery? What is this secret that has been hidden for thousands of years? It builds upon an old message that man can become righteous. However, the unexpected truth, the truth that has now been revealed to us, is that it is not by keeping the law that man can become righteous but rather by receiving Christ into their lives. The hope of righteousness that used to be found in the law is now found when we experience "Christ within us." Furthermore, this great hope is not for only a select few but for all mankind. Regardless of race or nationality, righteousness is now within reach through the person of Jesus Christ.
God's greatest secret, a secret of indescribable wealth, has now been revealed. Its truth and wealth in our lives is found when we receive Christ and believe His truth. Christ in us, the hope of righteousness.