How do we connect our life today, with the life of Christ in the Bible? That has been the underlying premise of our current Bible Study, Connected. Every “Christian” is susceptible to living a life under the banner of “Christian” without ever really living aligned with Christ. I recently heard the confession of a believer that came to the realization, “I have been a Christian for over 40 years, but I have just realized, I have never surrendered my life to Christ”. What a remarkable and sadly common sentiment. Once we accept Christ as our savior, we must then also surrender “our life” to Christ!
As our weekly Bible Study through the book of Colossians continues, Paul keeps reinforcing to the church at Colosse, that has been giving in to cultural pressures and customs of those around them, that their life is intimately “connected” to Christ. I guess it is somewhat subjective, but to me the high water mark of Paul’s teaching of how our life is connected to Christ’s, comes in Col. 3:3-4:
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. (read the whole book - it will bless you).
Here are the highlights: You have died, your life is hidden with Christ, who is hidden in God the Father. Oh, and then in v.4, Christ is your life!
What incredibly tough and ultimately freeing insight! And, as you let all of that soak in, you have to turn Paul’s statement into a personal question as we ask God, “Lord, have I truly died to you? Is my life now hidden in You [Christ]?”. The power of these questions is that they can only be answered by God, Himself. To us, our ways are clean and right. But God has the ability to know our true motives more than we do [Prov 16:1-3].
The idea, “For you have died”, is death to our old sin-filled nature and coming alive to a true newness of life in Christ with a new divine nature [Rom 6:1-6, Col 2:20-3:17, Eph 2:1-10; 4:17-32, 2 Peter 1:3-4]! According to Col 3:9, we are to put off the old nature as well as the practices attached to our old nature. Paul wants us to know, a new life in Christ is such a radical change, that reaches all the way down to our soul.
Rehab or New?: When I bought my current house, I happily called my dad to tell him the good news. My dad, who is an old educator and school principal, poured cold water on my excitement by correcting me about my “new” house. He did so by having me read the date on the deed. Well, in truth, the year on the house deed was 1920. The point, my dad was making is that to determine “new” or “old”, you have have to go to when the foundation was laid. He went on to remind me, that a house with new fixtures, appliances and new paint is a rehabbed house, not a new house. In much the same way, many embrace their walk with Christ as if they have been rehabbed and now because of it, they curse less and try harder to live better. But the language of Paul’s teaching is far greater than just a few changes, instead there is now a new foundation.
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him...[2:6]; If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations...[2:20]; If then you have been raised with Christ...[3:1]
We are not just a little fixed up, but we are new all the way down to the soul, with a new nature! So in the context, when Paul tells us in Col 3:3, that we have died [to the old us], he also helps us know that now our life is “hidden with Christ in God”. It is this intimate, connection with Christ that is our great purpose and excitement about living for Christ! For every goal sheet item and self made purpose we have chased throughout our life, Christ, our Savior - is now our life.
Lord, hide my life: my priorities, my agenda, my goals, my behavior, my attitude, my thoughts..., in You, so that what is seen is Christ - only.