I’m doing a study on the Attributes of God with the women’s group at my church. The key verse for the study is Colossians 3:1-3. We did talk a bit about the verse the first day, but the last phrase of it has been stuck in my head for a few days. What does it really mean to be hidden with Christ in God? Christians like to use the phrase. It’s rather poetic, but I want to know what Paul was really trying to say there, so…
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
Because this comes in the middle of his letter to the church at Colossae, I had to skim back over some of the previous chapter. I discovered that Paul was talking about walking in Christ and not in the religious legalism that many were being drawn into. He made it clear that the born again had been buried with Christ in baptism and raised again through faith (Col. 2:12). Since that is the case, seek the things above.
I looked up the word seek. It can mean to strive after, but it can also mean to crave. I’m not a scholar and I don’t know how one should know which of the four meanings apply to this particular use, but I love that! CRAVE the things of God. To me, that is great imagery. I know of many times when I have craved a Godiva dark chocolate raspberry bar (my favorite sweet in the whole world — and now I want one!). When I am craving that, I so long for it that I can almost taste it. I may continue cleaning, reading, or even eating other things, but my little brain has that chocolate bar right at the forefront and if it is at all possible, I am going to find a way to get that chocolate bar. (I think we might have to make a trip to Barnes & Noble tonight so I can have one!) So since Christ gave (once for all time, never has to happen again) me a completely new life, I should crave His kingdom, His Word, and His glory. I should crave Him!
Now it’s easy to say that and get excited about craving Him when life is going right, but life on the fallen earth does not always go right. Sometimes it goes just fine, but there are many, many distractions. So He emphasizes, don’t just crave the things above, but set your mind on them. I looked up “set” too. Strong’s said “to have understanding; to feel, to think; to direct one’s mind to.” Hmmm… to have understanding. Can I ever understand the things above? Not completely. Not until He reveals it, but I think that the greater my understanding, then the easier it will be to keep craving it and seeking it. They seem to go hand in hand. Seek and you will want to set your mind. Set your mind and you will find yourself wanting to seek.
Then Paul reminds believers why we are seeking and setting our minds on the things above. Because we died and are now hidden with Christ. There we are. Hidden with Christ. I died to my sinful self. God raised me up with Him. Now I’m hidden with Him. I originally thought that this had only to do with Christ’s imputed righteousness. You know, when He died, He became my sin and I was given His righteous life. So I thought that this was referring to the fact that when God looks on me, He no longer sees me, but sees His Son. This certainly may be part of it and it is a joyous theological truth! It is so freeing to know that even though I yelled at my children this afternoon, He has forgiven it and sees Christ’s righteousness covering me. I will fail and fail and fail in this world, and I need to repent and allow Him to change my behavior, but in eternity my life is still safe because Christ’s life (His glory) is in me. And that glory is what is hidden.
My life is gone. It was baptized into death and I was given new life — Christ’s life. But in this world, His life (which is my life now –see verse 4 above) will always be hidden by my flesh. There will be times that His glory will shine through. (And as I grow in faith, hopefully there will be more and more of those times!) But it won’t be until He returns that His full glory will be revealed. And at that time, the full glory that is within me will be revealed. That glory is not mine. It is His. He has placed it in me, a wretched sinner completely undeserving of His mercy and grace. And He will be glad to reveal it in that day. Wow! That is humbling. And yet, it makes me want to rejoice in Him. Yes, it makes me want to dance!!!