Today I have been thinking about the phrase “hidden with Christ”. I know the phrase, but don’t deeply understand it. When I hear the phrase I recall the lyrics to the song “Before the Throne of God Above”:
One with Himself, I cannot die
My soul is purchased by his blood
My life is hid with Christ on high
with Christ, my Savior and my God.
But, these lyrics still leave me with questions. What does it mean that I cannot die? Why did my soul need to be purchased with blood? What does “on high” mean? And why am I hidden with Christ?
I first learned the word hide in the context of the childhood game “Hide and Seek”. I’m sure you know the game. One person hides and everyone tries to find them. A similar game exists called Sardines. In sardines you also try to find a hiding person. During Sardines however, when you find them you hide with them. At the end of the game everyone appears when the last player finds them. I believe sardines paints a picture of hiding with Christ.
Colossians 3:1-3 says:
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your heart on things above where Christ is hidden, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you will also appear with him in glory.
These verses tell us that if we follow Jesus our spiritual selves died and are now with Christ, at the right hand of God. It is as though Jesus was the first person in a game of sardines. He was hidden with God, we found him and now we are hiding there with him. For now we wait.
While We Wait
What happens when you spend a lot of time with someone? You start to become like them. While seated with Christ at the right hand of God we become more like him. The verses in Colossians tell us that we died to the things of the earth and should now think about the things above, where our spirits dwell. Before we found Jesus we lived as people of the earth. We focused on worldly things because we lived on earth. Now that we are hiding with Christ we focus on heavenly things. Focusing on these things changes us and we begin to live differently. Our spirits have become citizens of heaven. This changes our identity. Because our identity changed our lives changed.
When We Appear
Hiding away will come to an end, however. Colossians tells us we will appear with God in glory. This appearance reminds me of the reveal at the end of a game of sardines. Everyone comes out of hiding proclaiming “here we are”. This appearance in glory is the biggest “here we are” reveal ever. We will have spent time with Jesus and become completely naturalized citizens of heaven. We will fully belong with him. Body and spirit will dwell with Jesus. All the world will see we look like him because we spent time with him and focused on the things of God’s Kingdom.
Who We Are
Many times we focus on a “put on/put off” narrative when studying Colossians 3. The text commands us to put off the old self and put on the new. I want to remind you to keep this command in context. We must not focus solely on being different through our works. If we try to put off the old self in earthly power we will be unable to do so. This leads to discouragement and defeat. Remember, this passage is about who we are, not just what we do. We must remember that we are with Jesus, and being with him will help us to put off the old self. We do not do this in our own power as earthly citizens but through the power of the Spirit, that we have access to through Jesus.
Hidden With Christ
In view of these things I believe that “hidden with Christ” means we sought him out, our spirits now live with him, and we act more like him. How encouraging! We become like Christ. This reminds us that we do not have to change ourselves without help. Being with Jesus makes us like him. In view of these things I will leave you with Colossians 3:12-14 as a challenge:
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.