“When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:4)
When the Father’s Son appeared on earth as the man Jesus people saw him. Now he is at the right hand of God and there he is hidden in God. No one can see him. But one day he will appear in full glory and every eye shall see him.
When Jesus appears, we shall appear with him because we are in him and he is our life. Every eye will see Jesus and every eye will see us. The veil will be drawn to show the fullness Christ’s glory. And the veil will be drawn on our glory with him. Everyone will see our share in the glory of Christ. God’s ultimate purpose is to bring many sons and daughters to glory with his Son (Hebrews 2:10). And this reaches its climax when we appear with Jesus in glory.
God’s Spirit unveils all this before the eyes of our hearts so that we already see something of our future glory in Jesus. For the Spirit is actually the presence of the future within us. He brings us into a foretaste of all that it is to come. So now, in the Spirit, we rejoice in sure expectation of the future glory that we will share with Jesus even as we enjoy it in part right now. And we say with Paul, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us (Romans 8: 18).
In Colossians 3, Paul says you have died with Christ (v3). He goes on to say that Christ is now your life (v4).
And so your life is HIDDEN with Christ in God (v3). Jesus was once visible to human eyes. His friends saw him living, dying and then ascending beyond their sight. Now Jesus, as the new man, is hidden in God enjoying the deepest union with God. And your life is hidden with Christ. That’s where your real life is. False teachers were telling the Colossian believers to practice rules and rituals to attain union with God above. Paul says we already have union with God. Jesus is in God and so are we with him.
In union with Jesus, we now live with an entirely new centre. I am no longer in the centre with all things revolving around me and my needs. I now live out of a new centre with all revolving around Christ in God. This is an entirely new centre. So my mind is set on things above where Christ is in God, and where I am with him. All my attention is set on the above. I still live an earthly life below enjoying earthly things. Nevertheless, I do so from a new centre with Christ in God. From this new centre I am aware of my new identity as a new human within a new humanity in union with the new man who is always in God and I with him. All this meets my deepest needs and liberates me for a new life with Christ in God.
Christ died for us and we died with him. We died to the old order in Adam under sin and death. Christ rose from death as the new man in new creation and we have been raised with the new man as the new humanity. Now we are continually with Christ enjoying new life – resurrection life. Of course, we look forward to the future resurrection of our bodies to live on the new earth for ever. Nevertheless, we are already raised with Christ. We already live in the sphere of resurrection and resurrection life is within us. We are resurrection people.
As those who have been raised with Christ we seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. For as Paul says in Colossians we have died (to the old order in Adam) and our lives are now hidden with Christ in God. Or as Paul says in Ephesians God has raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. We are now seated with Jesus in heavenly places and so we set our minds on things above.
As you set your mind on things above what do you see? You see Jesus seated at the right hand of God. He rules over all powers. And since Jesus is in a position of authority at God’s right hand, there is nothing to prevent us from having permanent access to this heavenly world into God’s Presence. United with Jesus we are above with him by the Spirit and he is with us below by the Spirit.