Hidden with Christ
If ye then be risen with Christ seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
E11.1 Hid with Christ
Not only are we risen with Christ in newness of life, and seated with Him in the heavenlies, but also our life is hidden with Him. Your life is hid in Christ in God. Our life now is not in the world, following its evil course, but in Christ. We are in Christ and Christ is in us the hope of glory, Col.1:27.
In the context of Colossians Paul is emphasising the fact that our life is not in mysticism, but in Christ. Being in Christ answers the mystical and ascetic practices already commented upon. They do not bring salvation or eternal life. If anything, they take a person farther and farther away from Christ.
Being hidden in Christ separates us from the world’s system, even though we still live in the world, we are not of it.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
In this well known passage Jesus talks about abiding in the Vine. New birth places us in Christ. We can not live the life Jesus wants us to live except we are in Him, therefore we are to abide in Him. The word abide means to remain, that is stay in the place God has placed us! He baptised us into Christ and there we are to stay!
We are not to go after these other things, for they do not give life or sustenance. It is in Christ that we bear fruit. Without Him we can do nothing. Jesus’ words are plain and clear to understand. Paul says something similar in Colossians. As ye received Christ so walk in Him Col.2:6.
E11.2 To live is Christ
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
This statement of Paul is well known. It has been turned into song for the saints to sing. Nothing wrong with that, but do we know the reality of these words? Do we know that to live is Christ? Not to live for any pet doctrine, conspiracy or mystical experience or to take on board any philosophy, or legalistic regulations, or anything else for that matter.
In fact what does it mean to live for Christ? Paul in Philippians tells us what it means. Here, briefly, is a summary.
E11.2a He who began
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
Firstly, it is to know that God has begun a good work in us. Have we received Christ, have we been born from above? This is God’s work not ours. If we have then we have received of his life and know that it is not I but Christ that lives in me, Gal.2:20. It is Christ, who is the source of our life. Not only that, but do we know that He will continue it? We do not need anything extra like mysticism. He will perfect that which concern us. He began the work in us and He has undertaken to complete it in us.
E11.2b Work out, what’s worked in
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
We know that God works in us to fulfil His purposes. He works in us to will and to do. And that we then have to work that out in our day to day lives. In many places in the NT we are instructed as to how this can be achieved, and in the third section of Colossians we will come across this in a little detail. But the point now is that Christian living is not just for meetings, it has to be seen to work out in every day living.
E11.2c All counted loss
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, >And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
The third point we would make is that Paul counted all but loss for Christ. Do we know that, have we counted the cost and count is loss for Christ? Where our heart is there is our treasure. Are our hearts on this world and its ways, or are they fixed on Christ?
E11.2d Our citizenship
Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.For our conversation (=citizenship) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
The final point to make is that our citizenship is in heaven. We have Jerusalem above as our mother Gal.4:26. Our citizenship is in heaven. Those who mind earthly things have their end as destruction. However those who have their life hidden with Christ in the heavenlies are destined to have their bodies fashioned like the Lord Jesus’. We have not come to an earthly city but an heavenly one New Jerusalem, Heb.12:22-29.
E11.3 Christ shall appear
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
To die is gain indeed if we live for Christ. But there is also a day coming when this same Jesus will return for His own, Jn.14:1-3; Acts1:11. When that day happens the dead in Christ shall rise and those who are alive will be taken up to be forever with the Lord, I Thess. 4:13-18.
This is the blessed hope of the believer. One day Jesus will return and we shall all be changed and be forever with the Lord. Even if we do not see the Lord’s return in our own life time, to die is to be with Christ anyway, and thus it is gain.
Christ is our life in this world and in the one to come. We are risen with Christ, our life is hidden in Christ with God and Christ is our life. It is all of His doing, it is not of ourselves, but the gift of God. Not of works and that includes all the things considered in this second section of Colossians.
We will end with the verses that began this section.
As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.