"Hidden..."

For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. [1]


That verse gives great hope to us, especially when we’re facing suffering of various kinds. Reflect on this deeply. If you’ve trusted in Christ, you are legally united to him,[2] such that he represented you in his life and in his death. When Christ Jesus died, you died, with the total finality of our Savior’s accomplishment in history. Your life is bound up together with Christ’s—and it remains so now and forever. “The ‘death’ is fact accomplished, the resulting ‘life’ is fact continuing.”[3] It’s as though you’ve passed through the Day of Judgment where God already executed perfect justice against your sins at Calvary. It’s over. You’re free.


What about that odd word, “hidden”? Didn’t our Lord say, You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden ? We must not hide the light of the gospel under a bushel. That’s true, but it’s another story. Here’s it’s all about what the Lord has done. The world cannot see it, and truthfully, we can’t either.…What we will be has not yet appeared. Hiddenness implies concealment—and sometimes just spiritual blindness—yet Paul’s main point is not secrecy but security. If your life has been stowed away by the One who counts you his precious possession, could you ever be more secure?


The double reference of Son and Father contained in the unique expression with Christ in God, resonates with our Lord’s comforting words, My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.


Immediately after that crystal-clear divine claim, Jesus’ enemies picked up stones again to stone him. He escaped from their hands in that incident. Yet the Good Shepherd knew that his mission to secure his beloved flock for eternity meant he would lay down his life for the sheep. Since then, many have followed in their Lord’s footsteps and suffered shame and death. All believers take up their cross daily and follow him. As we do, with all creation we wait in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. All that is hidden soon will be known.


[1] Colossians 3:3 ESV; other quotes or allusions—Matt. 5:14-16; 1 John 3:2; John 10:27-30; 10:11; Luke 9:23; Rom. 8:19. Photo of Gotland lambs courtesy of Kim Goodling, www.grandviewfarmvt.com; used by permission. [2] Often called “federal union” so that Christ’s righteousness was imputed to us and our sin to him. In our “vital union” with Christ, the Holy Spirit regenerates and sanctifies us within. [3] Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, public domain; emphasized words are in original. “The time-reference is, ideally, to the hour of Christ’s Resurrection; biographically, to their own union with Him by faith…. In Christ the Crucified they had ‘died to’ the guilt, and so to the despotic claim, of sin. In Christ the Risen they had ‘risen to’ a life of full acceptance, and also to life-power….”

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