“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
Colossians 3 is a classic example of how Paul encourages believers to press into knowing Jesus more intimately. No doubt there is no a command to seek, set and strive—but not void of Gospel implications. Paul starts the third chapter with an emphatic conditional statement, “If you have been raised with Christ.” Paul wants to make sure our hearts are right before our actions follow. If the condition is met, we should—dare I say, naturally, seek the things that are above, where Christ is.
In most of his epistles, Paul is going to constantly call believers to delight and treasure Jesus more in their hearts and lives but not without first reinforcing their position in Christ. Paul gives the reason we pursue Jesus in verse 3, “for your have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” The old man of the flesh is dead. Jesus has nailed your old life to the cross (Colossians 2:14).
I want to focus in on eight words near the end of verse 3, “…your life is hidden with Christ in God.” When I was a child, I was deathly afraid of dogs—regardless of it’s size. All of my friends had to keep their dogs outside when I came over. It was slightly embarrassing but I didn’t know any better. I remember one particular evening my parents were invited over to a party at some neighbor’s house who of course, had a dog.
In the middle of the party, one of the adults opened the back door and the dog was running rampant in the house. What did I do? I panicked. I quickly found my father in the sea of people and hid behind his leg in terror. My body, my fears, my insecurities, my shame—it was all hidden within my Father. He became my guardian, my protector and defender.
When Paul says our lives are hidden with Christ in God, he means that we now have a Defender and Advocate who stands in our place. We simply stand behind Christ and allow Him to be our representative. When God the Father looks at my life—because of the sacrifice of Jesus—He sees me as righteous and holy. Therefore, I have nothing to fear because Jesus is my truer and better Father who hides me from my deepest fears and enemies.
Do you feel the weight of your sin and shame? Cling to your heavenly representative Jesus. Are you like I was as a child—afraid, embarrassed and full of shame? Run behind the legs of Jesus and cling tight, for He never casts those who come to Him. We have a tender shepherd who loves His sheep and will never abandon even one of them. Believer, your life is hidden with Christ in God.
“The cross is the standard of victorious grace. It is the light-house whose cheering ray gleams across the dark waters of despair and cheers the dense midnight of our fallen race, saving from eternal shipwreck, and piloting into everlasting peace.”