Monday, August 03, 2015

Identity in Christ - 31 (Hidden in Christ)

We have come to believe that what Jesus told us. We have chosen to follow him, to give him our allegiance. As such, we have taken on a brand new set of goals, passions, values and priorities.
We need to embrace these new things, because we are now separated from the old things. And we are hidden in Christ. God has taken us from the old, and inserted us in the new.
“Hidden” in the original language means “hidden by covering.” People can’t see something, because something is thrown over the top of it … like a blanket, or a box. In this case, the “blanket” is Jesus.
  • God’s Perspective
Hidden means to be put out of sight. Often, the connotation involves putting something in a safe place. Often, the connotation involves putting something valuable in a secure place.
Being hidden by God does not demonstrate our value to him. God demonstrates our value by the large price he paid to ransom us.
(NOTE: It is not a price he was willing to pay. Jesus died on the cross. God has already paid the price. People may not have taken advantage of God’s provision. Still, the price has been paid, and it is available for to go and collect it.)
But being hidden does show God’s concern with protecting his investment. Jesus was the ultimate “Undercover Boss.” “Undercover Boss” is a TV program. The CEO of a company becomes a worker in various parts of the company, in disguise, to find out what working for the company is really like. (With a camera following him around. Takes some clever storytelling to get the other employees to ignore the camera. Just part of a normal day.) Usually, this unannounced inspection results in changes to the company that make life better for everyone in the company.
Jesus already knew what life was like. Still, he came. He modelled what a human being should like, if that human being lived as designed. And he provided a solution for our problem of sin. He did make life better.
And he positioned us for maximum protection. When God looks at us, he does not see our failures or deficiencies. He sees Jesus, and our position, our identity, in him.
God does see the areas of lack in our lives, in order to fill them. His goal is the restoration of his image in us. What I have been calling our original design. His goal is not the punishment of our imperfections. Jesus already dealt with our imperfections. Jesus dealt with our failures. The Spirit resides in our hearts, we are hidden in Christ, to insure that the price only needs to be paid once.
  • Living My Life
Some people think that this type of security gives people a free pass. We give out allegiance to Jesus, he gives us his justification, and we can do anything we like.
Scripture says when we give our allegiance to Jesus, we died to this life. That’s why the writer urges us to embrace the new life. The old one is gone.
I think one reason God gives us this type of assurance, he wants us to move away from ourselves, and focus our hearts outward. We are called to focus our hearts towards God, in worship and prayer. We are called to focus our hearts toward god’s Word, in reading, study, meditation and obedience. We are called to focus our hearts toward other people, in love, service and proclamation of the gospel.
If our hearts are focused on fulfilling our personal desires, or focused on our standing with God, we have not released ourselves to live out our design, in which love, joy and peace play a large part. I am not saying we need to avoid all self-focus. Some is healthy. Too much is not. And Scripture gives instruction in a correct balance. And recognizing our position in Christ – hidden and secure -- leads toward that balance.

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