HIDDEN WITH CHRIST IN GOD
Copyright © 2012 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
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. (Colossians 3:1-3)
We already have come to Mount Zion, the city of the living God. May Christ open our eyes so we can see our surroundings!
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. (Hebrews 12:22-24)
Mount Zion is a city in the spirit world. We ordinarily refer to Mount Zion as “Heaven.” The Throne of God is there, the Lamb, and the 24 elders.
We are living on the earth, aren’t we? Yet the Bible says we are “hidden with Christ in God.” The Bible says we “have come to Mount Zion.” Although living on the earth, we already are in Heaven.
Well, our body is not in Heaven. That is obvious. Our soul is not in Heaven, because we are hoping for the salvation of our soul.
Then it must be that our spirit is in Heaven. Our body and soul are presently on the earth, but our spirit already is in Heaven, hidden with Christ in God.
What happens when we die? Our body remains wherever it was placed in the ground. Our soul passes into the spirit world, no longer being visible to the people on the earth. Our spirit, if we are a true Christian, remains hidden with Christ at the right hand of God. If we remain true to Christ, our spirit will be hidden with Christ at the right hand of God for eternity, just as Jesus is hidden with Christ in God for eternity, although His Presence may be with us on the earth or wherever else we are.
So Jesus and we enjoy multiple presence. We are seated with Christ at the right hand of God for eternity. But where we are located at any given time depends on our service to God.
I would say from this that it is our soul, our conscious personality, that is present according to where God would be having us serve. Also, it is not unlikely that our soul, our conscious presence, also will be capable of being in many places at once, in the power of multiple presence. This is true right now, isn’t it? While our spirit is hidden with Christ in God, our conscious presence is on the earth.
The Bible says the conquerors will be pillars in the Temple of God. The name of the city of God will be engraved on them. Yet they will be in many different places serving the Lord, even though they never leave their place at the right hand of God.
The question arises, can it be true that our spirit, once it has been situated with Christ at God’s right hand, never can be torn down from there? No, it is not true that we never can be torn down from our high place in God. Satan fell from his high place in God. Our presence at God’s right hand depends on our behavior. As long as we are obeying Christ, following Him diligently each day, our position is secure. We are free from condemnation because of the blood atonement. But if we should draw back, and return to the world and its sinful ways, we lose our crown of righteousness that was given to us when we first received Christ. It is possible for someone to take our crown!
I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name. (Revelation 3:11,12)
“No one will take your crown”! If our crown is removed, we will be removed from God’s right hand. Only conquerors occupy that position.
The following passage reveals that, in the last days, numerous believers who had been at God’s right hand will be drawn down to earth by the tail of the dragon. We have seen this in our day as some prominent ministers have been cast down to the earth because of sexual lust.
His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. (Revelation 12:4)
The “stars” that are flung to the earth are not Satan’s angels. Satan’s angels are hurled to the earth later in this chapter, after the war against Michael. Notice the following:
At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. (Hebrews 12:26,27)
The “created things” are those things and institutions that have not been wrought in Christ. Only what is wrought in Christ can withstand the coming shaking. Notice also:
Out of one of them came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land. It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them. It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host; it took away the daily sacrifice from him, and the place of his sanctuary was brought low. Because of rebellion, the host of the saints and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground. (Daniel 8:9-12)
The above passage is speaking of the time when Antichrist is given authority to reach into Heaven. The starry host refers to God’s saints. They are thrown down to the earth “because of rebellion.”
Because of rebellion. I think it is true of God’s people today that they willing to receive Christ as their Savior, but not as their Lord.
Paul commanded us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. How many Christians of today present their bodies a living sacrifice? Jesus told us that to be a disciple we must deny ourselves, take up our cross of deferred desire, and follow Him. How many Christian people will follow Christ once He begins to prune them? Paul encouraged us to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. How many American believers do this?
Notice the admonition that follows the exhortation of Paul that we set our heart on things above.
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5)
How many professing Christians of our day are putting to death what belongs to their earthly nature? Not too many, perhaps. They have been taught that they will go to Heaven by grace and live in a mansion, and soon they are to be caught up to Heaven in an unscriptural “rapture.” Lawless grace and escape by rapture — this is the Christian theme of the hour.
It is because of disobedience and sin that so many saints will be thrown down by the tail of the dragon. Their crown of life and righteousness has been taken from them and they do not know it. They have been lulled to sleep by false teaching. This is true in America. Consider the following passage:
But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God. (Luke 12:20,21)
It is understandable that a man should retire after working thirty years in a factory. But what is he to do after that? He is to seek the Lord to find out how he is to use his new allotment of time. There is plenty of work to be done that a retired person may be free to do. The man in the passage above had retired. What does he say?
And I’ll say to myself, You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry. (Luke 12:19)
What do many retired Americans say? “Take it easy. Buy a motor home and travel around and see the scenery. Go on a long ocean voyage. Relax. Watch the sports on television.” How does God respond to this? “You fool!” And then God says, “This very night your soul will be demanded from you.”
What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:26)
There is something I believe but do not often preach, because I have no scriptural support for it. It has to do with where demons come from. If a man dies, and forfeits his soul, what is left? His spirit. I suspect that the demons that harass us are people who have lost their souls and now are spirits. They have various cravings that cannot be satisfied because they have no bodies. So they seek to enter human beings on the earth in order to satisfy their craving through living human beings. This also may be where familiar spirits come from.
Notice that it does not speak of the man going to Hell, but of forfeiting his soul, the conscious part of his personality. All that remains is a spirit. Perhaps some are permitted to walk the earth, hoping to find a residence. That would be hell enough, wouldn’t it? Mind you, I am not saying there is no Hell. Jesus said there is. There may be many punishments the wicked suffer beside Hell, the Lake of Fire, and the outer darkness.
Now we see why the Apostle Paul exhorted us to set our heart on things above. Our body wants to immerse itself in the activities taking place on the earth. But when we do this, we may neglect to pray and read our Bible each day. Soon we may be behaving in an unlawful manner.
But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. (Colossians 3:8-10)
We must be disciplined if we are to set our heart on things above. God will help us do this if we ask Him. I believe it is easier to set our heart on things above when we realize that the spirit world is all around us. God is not far off in the stratosphere, but as close as our prayers. We now are hidden with Christ in God. We already have come to Mount Zion, the city of the living God. If God were to open our eyes, we could see the great company of angels in joyful assembly. We could behold the spirits of righteous people made perfect.
So let us pray continually that God will keep our heart in Heaven where Christ sits on the right hand of God. We are there with Him if we are living a godly life. We maintain our position in Christ as we pray and read our Bible, and above all, obey Christ diligently.
I have been preaching a great deal lately about living by the Life of Jesus. This is entirely possible, your know. Do you remember how the Apostle Paul said he was living by the Life of Jesus?
We need to keep bringing our heavenly life down into our behavior on the earth. God will help us do that.
As much as possible, we are to keep our attention focused on the Lord Jesus. Every decision, every plan, every word, every action is to be brought before Christ as much as we are able.
Sometimes the Lord weakens us in some manner so His Life in us will be brought forth. When it is, others will receive His Life into themselves.
“Lazarus, come forth!” But Lazarus is bound head and foot with graveclothes. Other people remove our bondages, either by ministering to us, or else by afflicting us so we must keep drawing nearer to the Lord.
The winnowing and pruning must take place if the Life of Jesus is to be brought forth. Our words may help people. But it is when the Life of Jesus shines forth from within us that people come to Jesus and receive the eternal Life of God.
A few more weary steps, and we will be home. But we who are older must keep reporting what God has done for us. The next generation will face moral and physical chaos. They will not be able to stand in the Presence of Jesus, or help others to stand, unless they know to keep their heart on things above, unless they realize firmly at all times that their life is hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)
(“Hidden with Christ in God”, 3933-1, proofed 20210913)