Colossians 3:1–4 is full of heart-warming, soul-comforting reflections on the implications of Christ’s work on our behalf and our union with Him. Verse 3 says, “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” What does it mean to be “hidden with Christ”? In order to answer this, we need to think broadly about the prominent language of hiding in the Bible. It is language that we find in many places, though we will only focus on a few references here.
As soon as sin enters the world, what do Adam and Eve attempt to do? They foolishly clothe themselves with fig leaves and attempt to hide from God. What a sad, tragic reaction to the same voice that had not only called them into existence, but called them into sweet fellowship. Now, instead of running to God’s voice, they run from Him and attempt to hide. Their plan of self-protection failed, but God in His grace gives them a covering for their sin in place of the all-consuming judgment they deserve.
A disastrous scene unfolds at the other end of the Bible. In Revelation 6:15–16, we are told of “the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free” all calling out to the rocks and hills to “fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne.” This time, however, there is no mercy. It is the climactic day of God’s judgment. The slain Lamb is now the devouring Lion, and there will be no place to hide for His enemies.
Centered between these two books (Genesis and Revelation) stands the cross of Christ. It is the apex of history, as God’s grace and justice are mingled like streams meeting in a river. Neither is weakened as they come crashing together at the cross. They deepen and intensify as they overtake the Savior in a flood of judgment, yet become the river of life for you and me.
What ought to deeply pierce our hearts is that in order for God’s just judgment to pass by sinners like you and me, it has to find Jesus. That is what it means for us to be “hidden with Christ.” At the cross, the full, unbridled wrath of God came down upon Jesus, and, in that moment of judgment, there was nowhere for Jesus to hide. No fig leaves or shade trees. No mercy, no grace, no compassion. Jesus, for us, is exposed to the all-consuming expression of sin’s cruelty and the wrath of God. No friends come to defend Him; no lamb is offered in His place; no one negotiates His release.
Clothed in our shame, crowned with our thorns, and exposed to the judgment of God that we deserve—Jesus is our hiding place. Outside of Christ, there is no safe place to hide, but being found in Christ there is peace and safety. “Rock of ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee.”