“For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3).
In this Colossian epistle, we may well linger over the two little prepositions, “with” and “in”, as they express our union with Christ. The former always expresses our union with Christ in the sense of identification with Him. The latter seems to express it in the sense of position and possession in Him.
“Dead” with Christ.
“Buried” with Christ.
“Quickened” with Christ.
“Risen” with Christ.
“Hid” with Christ.
“Appear” with Christ.
Did He die? So did we by identification with Him. Was He buried? So have we been, and the old way of life is gone. Was He quickened again from death? So are we quickened to newness of life through our identification with Him. Was He raised? So are we. Is He now hidden and invisible? So are we, insofar as our true life is concerned. Will He yet “appear in glory”? So shall we, “with Him”. All these experiences which we see objectively in Him have their counterpart subjectively in ourselves through our identification with Him.
On the other hand, that preposition “in” expresses our position and possession in Christ. The believer is:
a “saint” in Christ (1:2)
has “faith” in Christ (1:4)
is “reconciled” in Christ (1:22)
has “redemption” in Christ (1: 14)
is to “walk”in Christ (2:6)
is “complete” in Christ (2:10)
Oh, this Christ-believer union is wonderful! In varying aspect and metaphor it recurs throughout the New Testament, and gives us joy beyond telling. It is everlastingly indissoluble. Our Beloved is ours and we are His for ever. Heaven’s undying rapture will consist in the consummation and continuity of this oneness with Him. Oh, to give Him, here and now, the full revenue of His blood-bought estate in us!—our uttermost devotion as expressed by separatedness to Him, communion in prayer, and humble serving. And all the while let us remember that our true life is “hid” with Him in God!
Our joint-possession with Christ is a doctrine at which we can only marvel perpetually. It could never have been invented; and it is too amazing not to be true. A young woman in New York once wrote: “Yesterday, I was worth fifty dollars. Today I am worth millions.” She had married a millionaire, and they had a common purse. She continued, “But what are all our millions, compared with my beloved himself?” Finally, she added, “What was my bit to him? Yet he said it meant more than all his millions, if my heart came with it.”
– J. Sidlow Baxter.