“For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3)
While preparing for lessons to be delivered at Indian Creek Youth Camp I came across this short but very powerful verse. It seems to strike at the very heart of Christian living. In fact, if we can ever fully appreciate what it says we will be changed.
In the context, the apostle Paul writes to Christians who were being slowly drawn back into the ancient Law of Moses. In the preceding chapter Paul warned them not to leave Christ for the old ways which could not save but instead to remain firm in their commitment and dedication to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is in this context that Paul delivers the statement above.
The Christian man or woman no longer belongs to themselves; Christians belong wholly to Jesus. In fact, the verse makes clear that the ownership is so complete that the old man is just as good as dead. He simply lives no longer. Paul expresses a similar thought in Galatians 2:20 when he declares that he is “crucified with Christ.” Take a look at Romans 6:6 for the idea of our “old man” being destroyed.
When a man is dead he no longer acts. He no longer thinks or desires. He is no longer motivated to do anything of himself for all of that is characteristic of a living being. Put differently, I no longer do what I want to do, I am no longer driven by my former desires and I do not act as I once did. Why? Because I am dead. Of course, my heart still beats; my lungs breathe air and I move about. But I am now animated by Christ. His wants are my wants and his desires are my desires. I am alive because the renewing blood of Christ now washes over my once sinful body.
Notice further that my life (the life animated by Christ) is now “hidden.” According to one Greek language expert (Bauer), the idea is of being hidden away in a safe location much as one might hide from a violent intruder or seek a hiding place from a terrible storm. You know the songs well don’t you?
“Rock of ages cleft for me. Let me hide myself in thee.”
“Hide me oh thou great Jehovah…”
Yes, we are dead in Christ but our new life is special. It is hidden; it is protected by the Lord Himself. What wondeful news!
By the way, you are dead aren’t you?