Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hidden in God

For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. (Colossians 3:3-4)

All who believe in Jesus now have a new life, one that is from a higher realm. Not the old realm to which we had once become accustomed, one influenced and controlled by principalities and powers. These have been disarmed now and we are no longer subject to them. We died to them. Oh, they are still present in the world and they still have a voice, but they no longer have any authority over us. The only power they hold now is the power we yield or attribute to them. Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). His authority extends over all the powers and they must all bow and acknowledge that He is Lord (Philippians 2:9-11).

Jesus the Messiah is now the source of our lives. Indeed, He is our life. In his letter to the Jesus believers of Galatia, Paul made this declaration: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). The life of the Messiah is now at work in us — He lives in us, we live in Him.

But this new life is “hidden.” The Greek word is crypto, which is, of course, where we get our English word “cryptic.” This life is not apparent to the senses. It is not perceptible to the ordinary ways we were once accustomed to seeing things when we were caught in under the influences of the principalities and powers. However, it is not hidden in those powers or in the hierarchy of angels, as the gnostic teachers might have imagined. No, our life is now hidden with the Messiah, in God.

Once, when we were spiritually dead, we were disconnected from the life of God. We could not perceive or understand that life. But now, in Jesus the Messiah, we are dead to everything alien to that life — those things no longer have any power over us and we no longer have to yield to them. Because we are now made alive to God. As Paul said to the believers at Rome, “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:11).

When the Messiah “appears,” that is, when He comes again, this life we have in Him will be revealed in all its glory — the glory of Jesus Himself. This glory is not a place, as some Christians tend to think, it is an expression of identity. It is a revelation, the unveiling of who we are in Jesus and who He is in us. The apostle John says something very similar to what Paul says here.
Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. (1 John 3:2-3)
John concludes from this that everyone who has this “hope” (expectation) purifies himself, just as Jesus is pure. Because we have the expectation that who we are in Jesus and who He is in us will one day be revealed in all its glory, we no longer have to live according to what we once were. We are free to begin living this new life we have in Him and become who we really are. Paul will speak more to this in his letter.

Focus Questions
  1. In what way have we died? In what way have we been made alive?
  2. How does this new life we have in Jesus turn human systems upside down?
  3. How might this new life be revealed in us even now?

The Focus of Our Faith
The Focus of Our Faith
Paul’s Letters to the Jesus Believers at Colosse
Bite-Size Studies Through Colossians
by Jeff Doles

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