|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:1-4 As Christians are freed from the ceremonial law, they must walk the more closely with God in gospel obedience. As heaven and earth are contrary one to the other, both cannot be followed together; and affection to the one will weaken and abate affection to the other. Those that are born again are dead to sin, because its dominion is broken, its power gradually subdued by the operation of grace, and it shall at length be extinguished by the perfection of glory. To be dead, then, means this, that those who have the Holy Spirit, mortifying within them the lusts of the flesh, are able to despise earthly things, and to desire those that are heavenly. Christ is, at present, one whom we have not seen; but our comfort is, that our life is safe with him. The streams of this living water flow into the soul by the influences of the Holy Spirit, through faith. Christ lives in the believer by his Spirit, and the believer lives to him in all he does. At the second coming of Christ, there will be a general assembling of all the redeemed; and those whose life is now hid with Christ, shall then appear with him in his glory. Do we look for such happiness, and should we not set our affections upon that world, and live above this?
Verse 3. - For ye died, and your life is hid, with Christ, in God (Colossians 2:11-13, 20; Ephesians 4:22; Philippians 3:20; Romans 6:1-14; Romans 7:1-6; 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15; Galatians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 3:23; John 15:5; John 12:26; Revelation 3:21). In this hidden life of the Christian lies the ground and the spring of the more outward life of thought and endeavour of vers. 1, 2. And this life comes through death, from that "dying with Christ" out of which we "rose with him" (ver. 1; Colossians 2:11-13, 20; Romans 6:3, 4, 8). "The aorist ἀπεθάνετε ('ye died') denotes the past act; the perfect κέκρυπται ('hath been and is hid') the permanent effects" (Lightfoot). (On the nature of this death, see notes to Colossians 2:11-13.) "Died - and your life!" this paradox is explained in Romans 6:10, 11, and repeated in Galatians 2:20; 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15. The Christian's life is lodged in the sphere of "the unseen and eternal." It centres in Christ, and as he is hidden - withdrawn from the world of sense, yet with us always in his Spirit (John 14:16-20; John 16:16-22) - so our life with him. And if "with Christ," then "in God;" for "Christ is God's" (1 Corinthians 3:23); "lives to God" (Romans 6:10), and "is at God's right hand" (ver. 1), being "the Son of his love" (Colossians 1:13; John 1:18). The apostle says, "in God" ("in heaven," Philippians 3:19), to emphasize the fact of the union of Christ with God, or perhaps to deepen the reader's sense of the sacredness of this life in Christ (comp. 1 Timothy 6:14-16). "Is hid" (Colossians 1:26, 27; Colossians 2:2, 3), another allusion to the fondness of the Colossian errorists for mysteries. In Colossians 1:26 St. Paul spoke of the ancient mystery of a Christ for all the world; then of the new, perpetual mystery of a Christ dwelling within believing hearts. But this second mystery is equally that of our life in Christ as of Christ's life in us, lifting us to heaven while it brings him down to earth. This mutual indwelling of the Head in heaven and the members upon earth is the most intimate and inscrutable of all secrets (John 14:20; John 15:1-7; John 17:22, 23, 26). "The world knows neither Christ nor Christians, and Christians do not even know themselves" (Bengel). But as the old historic secret had its manifestation at last (Colossians 1:26), so will the new secret that lies enfolded within every Christian life -
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For ye are dead,.... Not in a natural or corporeal sense, for they were living in the world; nor in a moral sense, for though they had been dead in sins, they were quickened by the grace of God; nor in a legal sense, for all their trespasses were forgiven them; see Colossians 2:13; but they were dead to the law, moral, ceremonial, and judicial, by the body of Christ; and to sin, as to its damning power, through his bearing it in his own body on the tree; and to the world by his cross: and therefore as dead men have nothing to do with the world, and the things of it, so believers being dead with Christ, should have no regard to the rudiments of the world, the ceremonies of the law, and the ordinances of men; to worldly lusts, and to the things that are in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; but should be dead as to their desires after, affections for, and subjection to these things:
and your life is hid with Christ in God; which is another reason why they should not mind things on earth, but things in heaven. The saint's "life" is either spiritual, and is a life of grace from Christ, a life of faith on him, and a life of communion with him, and may be distinguished into a life of sanctification, both internal and external, and into a life of justification; or eternal, which is a life free from all the sorrows of this, both outward and inward; a life of perfection and pleasure, of vision and enjoyment of God and Christ, and of fellowship with Father, Son, and Spirit, angels and saints, and which will never end. This is "theirs", what they have a right unto, and shall everlastingly enjoy: it is not only promised to them, and prepared and laid up for them, but it is given unto them in Christ; and who has made way for their full possession of it, into which he himself will put them, having power, as Mediator, so to do; and even now they have it, the beginning, pledge, and earnest of it. This is said to be "hid", which denotes the secrecy of it, and is true both of spiritual and eternal life. The spiritual life of the saints is hid from the men of the world, who are alienated from the life of God, are ignorant of the Lord of life, and know nothing of the spirit of life; they are strangers to the nature of this life, and to the food on which believers live, the hidden manna; and to the doctrines of the Gospel, by which they are nourished, these are hid to them that are lost; and to all the joys and pleasures of it: and this is sometimes hid from the saints themselves, when temptations are violent, corruptions prevail, grace is low, and seems to be gone, and God hides his face. Eternal life is also an hidden one from natural men; the things that are eternal, are things unseen by the carnal eye, and not to be conceived of by a carnal heart; and can only be beheld, and that in a very glimmering and imperfect manner, by an eye of faith, which is the evidence of things not seen, the clearest one saints have in this life; for eternal glory and happiness is in part hid from the saints themselves; they see it but through a glass darkly; nor does it appear to themselves, as yet, what that felicity is in its fulness and perfection they shall enjoy. Moreover, this phrase is expressive of the safety, as well as of the value and preciousness of this life, things of worth being hid for security. It is hid, and it is hid "with Christ"; spiritual life is with him, as the head, root, and fountain of it, and so is safe, and can never be lost; because he the head lives, the members shall live also; and as long as it is in him, as the fountain, the streams and supplies of it shall not be wanting to his people; nor can the communication between him and them be ever cut off: eternal life is deposited in his hands by the Father; it is bound up in the bundle of life with the Lord God, and is in him for ever safe: nay, it is not only with Christ, where it is secure enough, but it is with Christ "in God"; Christ is in God, the Father is in the Son, and the Son is in the Father; they are one in nature, and so in power and glory; and this union between them, which is natural and perfect, is the foundation of the security both of the persons, and of the life, spiritual and eternal, of God's elect; see John 10:28. Moreover, this life itself is in God. Not only our natural life is in him; we live and move, and have our being in him; but our spiritual and eternal life: he is the spring of it; it arises originally from him; it was purposed in him; it was promised by him; the scheme of it, or what is called the fellowship of the mystery, was hid in him; it was given by him; he is the fountain of it, and that itself; and therefore the saints can never perish, nor need they fear any enemy.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. The Greek aorist tense implies, "For ye have died once for all" (Col 2:12; Ro 6:4-7). It is not said, Ye must die practically to the world in order to become dead with Christ; but the latter is assumed as once for all having taken place in the regeneration; what believers are told is, Develop this spiritual life in practice. "No one longs for eternal, incorruptible, and immortal life, unless he be wearied of this temporal, corruptible, and mortal life" [Augustine].
and your life … hid—(Ps 83:3); like a seed buried in the earth; compare "planted," Ro 6:5. Compare Mt 13:31, 33, "like … leaven … hid." As the glory of Christ now is hid from the world, so also the glory of believers' inner life, proceeding from communion with Him, is still hidden with Christ in God; but (Col 3:4) when Christ, the Source of this life, shall manifest Himself in glory, then shall their hidden glory be manifest, and correspond in appearance to its original [Neander]. The Christian's secret communion with God will now at times make itself seen without his intending it (Mt 5:14, 16); but his full manifestation is at Christ's manifestation (Mt 13:43; Ro 8:19-23). "It doth not yet appear (Greek, 'is not yet manifested') what we shall be" (1Jo 3:2; 1Pe 1:7). As yet Christians do not always recognize the "life" of one another, so hidden is it, and even at times doubt as to their own life, so weak is it, and so harassed with temptations (Ps 51:1-19; Ro 7:1-25).
in God—to whom Christ has ascended. Our "life" is "laid up for" us in God (Col 1:5), and is secured by the decree of Him who is invisible to the world (2Ti 4:8).
Colossians 3:3 Parallel Commentaries
Colossians 3:3 NIV
Colossians 3:3 NLT
Colossians 3:3 ESV
Colossians 3:3 NASB
Colossians 3:3 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible