JohnSWilson3 Blog


“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”
July 9, 2010, 2:06 pm
Filed under: N Letter to the Colossians

In Chapter 3 of Paul’s letter to the Colossian Christians he now brings back to the forefront the Lord Jesus Christ! Paul always came back to Christ! Why do we so often get sidetracked when we gather together, more often than not it is because we don’t come back to Christ. We go on sharing about this issue, this cause, this passion, this bent, etc. We go down rabbit holes that lead to nowhere except disagreement then disunity and then disassociation whether outright or inwardly, becoming suspicious of one another, as T. Austin-Sparks points out in his book “God’s Spiritual House.”

Paul, after pointing out all of the various ways the enemy can deceive the church in its gatherings he reminds them again: “You died with Christ to the basic principles of this world,” therefore keep Jesus Christ as “the Head” of the church! “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds 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 also will appear with him in glory.” I, we, must keep our focus on Jesus Christ, and not just on Him, but that we “have been raised with Christ”! The church, because of being in Christ, is over “the powers and authorities” of this earth both physical and spiritual! As far as God is concerned He doesn’t see us as the Church, He sees His Son as the Church! This doesn’t me that you or I are Christ or a god, God forbid. Our “life is now hidden with Christ in God.” J.B. Lightfoot says that “is hidden” refers to “is buried out of sight, to the world.” “When you sank under the baptismal water, you disappeared for ever to the world. You rose again, it is true, but you rose only to God. The world henceforth knows nothing of your new life, and (as a consequence) your new life must know nothing of the world.” (1) Oh how I need to see this more clearly! Let us seek the “things above” and be mindful of the “things above,” let us go on in the Lord, go forward in Jesus Christ, and not focus on earthly things. Let us see that Christ “is our life” and He desires to see His church manifest His glory, His life, His grace and truth!

Because the Church is the corporate Christ, we can never be divided, except in our minds when we decide to break fellowship over issues with other brothers and sisters in Christ. When we focus our attention on things other than on Jesus we do not manifest His life, and the world will see it. Jesus’ prayer, the last words spoken to His disciples are so important:

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

What an incredible prayer! How we need to know our Lord! No wonder the world sees the church as an impotent, condemning, and hypocritical entity of lifeless people. The world sees a divided people who lack the love of Christ. Unity and love are the fruit of the life of Christ in the body of Christ. We cannot go forward in the Lord unless we learn to live by the Spirit, His life. The body of Christ is the corporate Christ and He desires and has purposed that we would be “renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”

We need to see ourselves as having “died with Christ” “in the life (we) once lived.” We “put to death” and “rid ourselves of” those things of the flesh by seeing that Christ has already “taken off (our) old man (our earthly self) with its practices” because of having “died with Christ”! “Sexual immorality, impurity, lust , evil desires and greed, which is idolatry…anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other.” We “have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” The church is meant to be growing more like who she is, Christ! We are to manifest the living God, in whom we “have been given fullness in Christ, who is head over every power and authority”! The things of the flesh, when they are being manifested by the people of God show a life that does not know the grace of Jesus Christ, what He has done for them, they do not reflect “knowledge” of “its Creator”. Perhaps Paul points these things out so that the church would know what not living by the life of Christ looks like. If we see these things showing up in us then we are not living by His life, we need to confess it and move forward “in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” Don’t condemn yourselves, in Christ we are no longer condemned! How important to find in our gathering together a place of safety where we can work these things out together without condemning one another. How we need to know Jesus Christ and Him crucified together in our gatherings brothers and sisters!

Don’t get sidetracked! These things will surface in our gatherings, life is messy, growth is progressive, no one will be perfect “in knowledge in the image of its Creator” we must all move forward together in the Lord. The earthly things will naturally show up as we learn to keep Jesus as Head. But, don’t stay focused on the earthly things, focus on who Jesus is and what He has done! It is by keeping Jesus Christ as head of ourselves and our gatherings that will determine how we move forward in unity and love. The Lord God desires that “Christ is formed in you”! Let us see ourselves as the Lord sees us:

To the Galatian churches: “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
To the Corinthian church: “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink…you are the body of Christ.”
To the Roman church: “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
To the Colossian church: “Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.”

Christ is all of the church and is in all of the church, no matter who they are and where they come from, it is a mystery! Christ cannot be divided, only in our minds is He divided. We except all brothers and sisters in Christ as He does. Let us, by faith, “put on the new self”, clothe ourselves “with Christ”, “who is (our) life” and “live in Him”! “You died with Christ to the basic principles of this world,” therefore keep Jesus Christ as “the Head” of the church! “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds 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 also will appear with him in glory.”

(1) Lightfoot, J.B., “St. Paul’s Epistles to the Colossians and Philemon: J.B. Lightfoot’s Commentary on the Epistles of St. Paul, Third Printing, Hendrickson Publishers, 1995, 209.

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2 Comments so far
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Amen brother. Well said. Thanks for the encouraging words!

Comment by Michael Young

you’re welcome brother, I’m still learning to. I found a cool quote from J.B. Lightfoot and will add to this.

Comment by John Wilson




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