“So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
~Colossians 3:1-3 (NRSV [with emphasis added]).
These are bold words that really thrust us toward the acid that is the life lost to God. It’s much easier dreamed about than lived.
Christians are the co-resurrected; that is the theory that the Apostle Paul espouses. Of course he means it that way, because this is a conditional clause... “if...” implies a “then” before the word “seek”.
If we’re raised with Christ, then we should be seeking the things of heaven, not those of earth.
First “Seek,” Now “Set” Yourself On – Things Above
Setting our minds on things that are above is adding specificity to what Paul’s already said.
But Paul’s not repeating himself for little reason. This is the centre of a living faith right here. It’s easy to look around us to cling to the crowd, or look behind us and get depressed, or look forward and lose hope in impatience... it’s harder to remember to look up.
And the reason we look up is because we’ve died to ourselves so we can live for Christ. We no longer have a wrangling need to compete in the world, aspire inappropriately, or connect for the sake of connection; for competition, aspiration and connection are of little point without a God-anointed purpose fuelling it.
We can only know these purposes when we look up, discerning heaven’s plan for our instances.
Hidden With Christ in God
Being hidden with Christ in God could — as Rienecker suggests — be about three ideas:
1. Secrecy – where a believer’s life becomes an appropriately locked bag to the Lord, which leads to the second idea;
2. Safety – as in the ‘double protection’ of the fact that we’re now firmly God’s, leading to the third idea;
3. Identity – where there is an intrinsic connection between a risen Lord and an equally risen disciple.
These three together fuse the concept of what it means to be hidden with Christ in God. They unfurl a golden reality that brings traction to Proverbial virtues: prudence and diligence. These virtues are practical methods leading to salvation living; they deal in a practical sense with the sinful nature.
There is, therefore, less of a sinful nature divulged in the normal course of living because of this hiddenness.
We’re urged to seek the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul and strength (Mark 12:30) and to then set ourselves toward living out this reality.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.
General Reference: Fritz Rienecker & Cleon Rogers, Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1976, 1980), pp. 577-78.