Going Deeper

The Resurrection and Our Life Hidden in Christ

"He took on human nature to uncover His holy heart of love to us completely." by Dr. Bill Ury

The power and the beauty of the Resurrection of Jesus must never be narrowed to a weekend of worship services or a one-day celebration. It must be the sole reality in which we live. The risen Christ permeates the perspective of the earliest Christians (Acts 2:24; 17:18). For them, when Jesus was raised believers were “co-raised” with Him (Colossians 3:1-2). It produced an interesting self-understanding: I am in Christ who was raised from the dead, He is on the throne, and so I live now “hidden” with Him in the Father (Colossians 3:3). It is no longer my life that is ultimate or central (Galatians 2:20). It is His life that is paramount.

What does it mean for us to be “hidden” in the One who is our life (Colossians 3:4)? The concept of hiddenness carries notions of secretiveness, seclusion, concealment and being unseen. Is it any wonder that the very first inclination of Adam and Eve produced by the guilt of their sin was the ridiculous attempt to hide from their Maker (Genesis 3:10)? We may attempt to hypocritically cover our sins, but the Bible is clear: none of us can keep our hidden sins from the One who knows our hearts (Psalm 19:12). The story of salvation is one of a Redeemer who relentlessly seeks those who attempt self-hiding with the offer of being found, redeemed and known.

Hiddenness as Identity

Our God loves us so much that He never hides from us (John 3:16). It was the very life of God; the Father sending the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit that proves that God will never conceal Himself from us. It is always important for us to remember that who Jesus is (Incarnation) and why He came (Atonement) are inseparable from His resurrection. He took on human nature to uncover His holy heart of love to us completely. His unreserved self-giving tells me who God is and magnificently reveals our identity. Why did He have to die? It was due to our rejection of His life in us at creation. That removal from Him resulted in a separation from life which meant death—life is impossible without Him. If I am not “in” Him then I lose the source of life and I will try to find my identity in worthless things.

What the Church proclaims every Easter is that the Incarnate Life, the only One who had no “death” in Him, willingly assumed our self-destruction. The Creator becomes a creature! Why? To defeat my death by taking my death into Himself. He became what I am, without ever sinning. God must take what I have done into Himself. He assumed my death-laced existence into His very being. When I am “hidden” there salvation occurs. So, we can sing, “Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee.”

Notice that in our Savior life swallowed up death. One theologian has said, “He was so full of life He had to borrow death in order to kill it.” When He “became sin” it was more than something done for me or at me (2 Corinthians 5:21). His goal was to re-create from within humanity a newness of Life. He did not hide Himself from any consequence of my sin, even those I think are hidden (Psalms 51:7, 9; 139:2-23). He made my impossible problem His. The Holy One alone can bring my unholiness into His heart of self-giving love. Only there, hidden in Him, can I ever know true life again. The quality of my entire life is now permeated with His. That is what is meant by finding our identity in the Risen One. 

Hiddenness as Salvation

The resurrection of Jesus tells us that all death is trampled by His death. His life conquered death by death. The Church has spoken of Jesus’ “deathless death.” His life has no death in it. That first Easter heralded the death of our “last enemy”—death (1 Cor 15:26). Death no longer has the last word; death is no more. God has finally, completely reversed my ludicrous “hiding” and has overcome separation, solitude, darkness. I can share all of myself because He offers all of Himself.  To be hidden in Christ is to have Life as it was meant to be. We are co-resurrected in Him forever. Peter describes this saving reality as “sharing in the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).

This is where we tend to forget our identity and our present reality. The Risen One ascended to the right hand of the Father. And we, like Paul, are undone by this glorious thought (Colossians 3:1-4). We are there “hidden” at this moment. Who we are as humans, hidden in Jesus, the God-man, are present in the very center of the life of God. We have present access to His life. We ought to experience every breath differently. In Christ what I think is real points to what is truly Real. You think air gives you life? No, the life of Jesus is your life. You can be hidden in lots of things but the only option for life is Jesus.  He is the air you breathe. 

Hiddenness as Intimacy

Hidden is an intimate term. Salvation is to be united to His life by the life-giving Spirit (Genesis 2:7, John 3:5-6). By grace through faith, His life is made mine. But what He does for me is the beginning of His desire to make me new.  My Pardoner is also my Re-Creator. I am born into a new life, His life, which is life itself! And thus, in sanctification, by grace through faith—His Resurrection life and power forms every part of my being. That is why Paul sees life as lost in Jesus, “for to me to live is Christ” (Gal. 2:20). This new intimacy “in Christ” is an unlimited relationship.  

“Hidden” is a love term. There is an intimacy between spouses that is hidden from everyone else.  A unique oneness is theirs alone. No one else is allowed to invade that mutual love. Jesus gives Himself to me and I responsively share all of myself with Him. As in any love relationship, if any outside threat to full, mutual self-giving arises, it must be met and defeated. And if He is my all in all then anything in me  which detracts from that life, as the French mystic Fenelon would boldly charge, “must be killed.” Nothing in a lover is to be hidden from the One they love. 

May we live in Jesus as He defines us. He is our life! Death is no more! There is no fear of death; it has lost its sting, conquered by life. Life, this very moment, can be lived in a mutual oneness with Him that is now and forever “hidden with Christ in God.”

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