Colossians 3:4
When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory.
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(4) When Christ . . . shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.—This describes the last stage of the spiritual life—the glorification with Christ in heaven, manifesting what now is hidden, and perfecting what exists only in germ. (Comp. 1John 3:1-2, “Now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.”) This same conclusion ends the corresponding passage in Philippians 3:21.

In all these Epistles we note how constant a reference there is to the “glory of God,” and to the share in it reserved for us. So we also note the especial reference to the “appearance of Christ” in the Pastoral Epistles (see 1Timothy 6:14; 2Timothy 1:10; 2Timothy 4:1; 2Timothy 4:8; Titus 2:13), and the constant revelation of it in the Apocalypse.

The whole passage forms a complete and magnificent picture of the spiritual life in Christ—the means of its beginning, the signs of its presence, and the hope of its close. It may be compared with the fuller yet hardly completer picture of Romans 8.

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?When Christ, who is our life - Notes, John 1:4; John 11:25, note.

Shall appear - In the day when he shall come to judge the world.

Then shall ye also appear with him in glory - 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. Christians shall then be raised from the dead, and ascend with the Redeemer to heaven.

4. Translate, "When Christ shall be manifested who is our life (Joh 11:25; 14:6, 19), then shall ye also with Him be manifested in glory" (1Pe 4:13). The spiritual life our souls have now in Him shall be extended to our bodies (Ro 8:11).

then—and not till then. Those err who think to find a perfect Church before then. The true Church is now militant. Rome errs in trying to set up a Church now regnant and triumphant. The true Church shall be visible as a perfect and reigning Church, when Christ shall be visibly manifested as her reigning Head. Rome having ceased to look for Him in patient faith, has set up a visible mockhead, a false anticipation of the millennial kingdom. The Papacy took to itself by robbery that glory which is an object of hope, and can only be reached by bearing the cross now. When the Church became a harlot, she ceased to be a bride who goes to meet her Bridegroom. Hence the millennial kingdom ceased to be looked for [Auberlen].

When Christ, who is our life, shall appear; which will be, according to the purpose and promise of God, with whom it is laid up, Colossians 1:5, when Christ by whom they live shall so appear that they shall be like him, 1Jo 3:2, and be taken to be with him in the heavenly inheritance, 1 Peter 1:4; then their conformity to him, began here, partly in holiness and partly in sufferings, Romans 8:18, shall be completed at last in glory and felicity, Philippians 3:21 Hebrews 11:26,35.

Then shall ye also appear with him in glory; and then shall these adopted children be brought into glory with him, Hebrews 2:10, out of whose hands none shall be able to pull them, John 10:28; but however the world look upon them as despicable, John 16:2, and sometimes they are so in their own eyes, wherein ofttimes there be tears, so that they can see but as through a glass, darkly, Psalm 31:22 1 Corinthians 13:12; but then they shall see Christ face to face, all tears shall be wiped away from their eyes, Revelation 7:17, and at the last day they shall shine as the sun in glory, Matthew 13:43 1 Corinthians 15:43,53 2 Thessalonians 1:7,10,12. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear,.... The Vulgate Latin version, and some copies, read, "your life". Christ is the author of spiritual life, the fountain from whence it springs, the object on which the saints live, yea, their very life itself; it is not so much they that live, as Christ that lives in them: and he is their eternal life; it is in him, and given forth by him; to know him now is the beginning of it; and its perfection hereafter will lie in the vision of him, communion with him, and conformity to him. The Jews have a saying (y),

"that lives depend upon the son of Jesse,''

all sorts of life, natural, spiritual, and eternal. At present, Christ, the life of his people, is, as it were, hid; when he had done the work he came into this world about, and which he was manifest in the flesh, he departed out of it, ascended up into heaven, and went to his God and Father, where he is, and will be retained, until the time of the restitution of all things; and though he appears in the presence of God, and on the behalf of his redeemed ones, yet he is now out of sight, and not to be seen with their bodily eyes; but, ere long, he will be revealed from heaven, and come in the clouds of it, and be seen by all, to the terror and confusion of some, and to the joy and salvation of others; when his appearance will be exceeding glorious, not only in his glorified body, or exalted human nature, and as the Judge of the whole earth, clothed with majesty, authority, and power, but as the Son of God, God equal with the Father, in all the perfections and glory of deity, which will be manifest and apparent to everyone:

then shall ye also appear with him in glory: the dead bodies of the saints will then be raised and united to their souls, which he will bring with him, when he appears; and living saints shall be changed, and be caught up together with the raised ones, into the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so they all shall be with him together, wherever he is, whether in the air, or on earth, or in heaven, and while he is in either; and shall be for ever with him, enjoy communion with him, be made like unto him, and behold his glory: yea, they shall "appear in glory" too; with a glory on their bodies, which will be raised in glory like unto the glorious body of Christ; and on their souls, being in perfect holiness, having on the wedding garment, or robe of Christ's righteousness, being clothed upon with their house from heaven, and appearing in the shining robes of immortality, incorruption, and glory; having the glory of God upon them in soul and body, and such a glory revealed in them, as the sufferings of this present life, and all the enjoyments of it, are not to be compared with. All which furnish out strong arguments and reasons, enforcing the above exhortations to seek for, and set the affections on things in heaven, and not on earth.

(y) Zohar in Gen. fol. 2. 3.

When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Colossians 3:4. And what a blissful future is connected with the ἡ ζωὴ ὑμῶν κεκρ. κ.τ.λ.! This bright, favourable side of the previous thought is the continuation of the proof of Colossians 3:2 begun in Colossians 3:3, detaching them thoroughly from earthly pursuits and elevating them to the courage of victory; vividly introduced without connecting particle (καί): “repentina luce percellit,” Bengel, which Hofmann fails to perceive, when he objects to the absence of δέ. The relation is not antithetical at all.

φανερωθῇ] shall have become manifest, have come forth from His present concealment, namely, by His Parousia. See on Colossians 3:3.

ἡ ζωὴ ὑμῶν] your life. Christ Himself is thus designated (comp. ἡ ἐλπίς in Colossians 1:27), because He is the personal author, possessor, and bearer of the eternal life of His believers (comp. John 14:6; John 11:25), and this, according to the context, inasmuch as they have entered into the fellowship of His resurrection: they are alive[141] with Him (σὺν τ. Χ., Colossians 3:3); His life is their life. The definite object of this apposition, moreover, is argumentative, for the following τότε κ.τ.λ.

καὶ ὑμεῖς] as Christ, so also ye with Him. The two subjects have the emphasis.

φανερωθ. ἐν δόξῃ] Comp. συνδοξασθῶμεν in Romans 3:17. It means nothing else than the glory of the Messianic kingdom, in which believers (also glorified bodily, 1 Corinthians 15:43; 2 Corinthians 5:1 ff.; Php 3:21) shall be manifested visibly. The offence which Holtzmann takes at the use of φανεροῦσθαι (instead of ἀποκαλύπτεσθαι, Romans 3:17 ff.) and ζωή, presupposes a too limited range for Paul’s manipulation of language. Our passage has nothing to do with 2 Corinthians 4:10 f. Nor does it even “almost look” (Holtzmann) as if the author were conceiving the readers as already dead at the Parousia. The φανερωθῆναι ἐν δόξῃ takes place in the case of those still alive through their being changed, as the reader was aware.

[141] Comp. Ignatius, Ephesians 3, where Christ is designated τὸ ἀδιάκριτον ἡμῶν ζῆν, also Magnes. 1, Smyrn. 4.Colossians 3:4. This life is not always to remain hidden, it will be manifested at the second coming. And that not merely in union with Christ, for it is Christ Himself who is our Life. This is not to be toned down to mean that Christ is the possessor and giver of eternal life. Paul means quite literally what he says, that Christ is Himself the essence of the Christian life (cf. Php 1:21, ἐμοὶ γὰρ τὸ ζῆν Χριστὸς, also Galatians 2:20). His manifestation therefore includes that of those who are one with Him. And this can only be a manifestation in glory (cf. Romans 8:17).4. When Christ … shall appear] R.V., somewhat more closely, shall be manifested; leaving the Secret Place of His glory to return to human sight, in His Second Advent. The verb is used in the same connexion, 1 Peter 5:4; 1 John 2:28; 1 John 3:2 (probably).—In connexion with the visible “manifestation” of the Son at the First Advent it occurs e.g. 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 John 1:2; and in connexion with the “manifestation” of the Risen One after death, Mark 16:12; Mark 16:14; John 21:14.—The import of the word in all these passages far transcends mere visibility, and gives the thought of a discovery of what He is Who is seen; but it implies a quite literal visibility. “This same Jesus, in like manner, shall come” (Acts 1:11).—This is the one place in the Epistle where the Lord’s glorious Return is distinctly mentioned (see Colossians 1:5, for a pregnant allusion to it). In the Ephesians no explicit reference to it occurs (but see Ephesians 4:30).

who is our life] The truth of the previous verse is repeated in an intenser form. The “life” which is “hid with Him,” in respect of your possession of it, is, in respect of itself, nothing less than He. So is Christ’s exalted life the direct secret of your regenerate life and faculty, that it is Christ, and nothing secondary. The Holy Spirit is “the Lord, the Life-Giver” (Nicene Creed); but the Life is the Son of God, as the Redeemer and Head of His saints.—Cp. John 6:57; John 11:25; John 14:6; Galatians 2:20; 1 John 5:11-12.

Our life:—he has just said, “your life is hid, &c.”; now he “hastens to include himself among the recipients of the bounty” (Lightfoot).

shall ye also appear] be manifested. “It hath not yet been manifested what we shall be” (1 John 3:2). The believer has a supernatural secret of peace and holiness, but it is hidden; and the Divine quality of the effects will not be fully “manifested” till the Cause is “manifested.” Again, the effects, though in a partial sense “manifested” even now, “in our mortal flesh” (2 Corinthians 4:11), are as to their Divine quantity still “hidden,” till the final glorification of the saints. Then, the oneness of the members with their Head will be seen, in all its living power and wonder, and their perfect holiness will be discovered to be all “of Him.” So “the sons of God will be manifested” (Romans 8:19) in respect of the nature and the greatness of their sonship.

The Apostle’s practical aim is to bring his converts to use their “hidden” life the more freely and confidently, in view of its promised issues, and to cheer them by the same prospects under the cross of sorrow, temptation, limitation, or whatever else “conceals,” in God’s present order, their life eternal.

with him] from whom the glorified are never separated. Cp. 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:14.

in glory] His glory, the effulgence, visible and spiritual, of His presence; shared by His members. Cf. Romans 8:17-18; Romans 8:21 (“the liberty of the glory, &c.”); 1 John 3:2. And see 1 Corinthians 15:43; Php 3:21.Colossians 3:4. Ὅταν, when) This word, used absolutely, strikes (flashes upon) the whole mind of the reader, as if he had been unmindful of the preceding words, with a sudden light, so that it is doubtful whether and or but should be supplied.—φανερωθῇ, shall be manifested) in glory, 1 Peter 4:13.—ἡ ζωὴ ὑμῶν, your life) This expresses the aspect (in relation to you), under which He will be manifested.—τότε, then) We should not demand it sooner.—καὶ ὑαεῖς, ye also) This hope draws men off from the earth.—ἐν δόξῃ, in glory) a glorious life.Verse 4. - When Christ shall be manifested, our (or, your,) life, then shall ye also with him be manifested in glory (Romans 8:18-23; Philippians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 1:7; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Timothy 6:15; 2 Timothy 2:10-12; 2 Timothy 4:8; Titus 2:13; 1 John 3:2; 1 John 2:28). Our future destiny, with our present redemption (Colossians 1:14), is wrapped up in Christ. Our life is not only "with him" (ver. 3); it is "himself" (Philippians 1:21; John 1:4; John 6:50-57; John 14:6; 1 John 5:12); he is its source and ground, way and rule, means and end - its all (ver. 11: comp. Colossians 1:20; Colossians 2:6-10; Ephesians 1:3, 23; Ephesians 3:17-19; Ephesians 4:13; Philippians 3:10; Philippians 4:19, etc.). From the hour of his ascension he has been hidden (Acts 1:9; Acts 3:21; 1 Peter 1:8); and his manifestation is as much a part of the Christian creed as his death and resurrection (Acts 17:31; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; 2 Thessalonians 1:10; 2 Thessalonians 2:8; 1 Corinthians 15:23; Philippians 3:20; 2 Timothy 4:1; John 14:3; 1 John 3:2, 3; Revelation 22:12, 20). Then the Christian will have his manifestation also with him, in the "revelation of the sons of God" (Romans 8:19); who will receive their second "adoption, to wit, the redemption of their body" (Romans 8:23). "Seeing him as he is" in his glory, "we shall be like him" (1 John 3:2) in glory. At last the spiritual life of the soul will have its due organic expression, in a body perfect and heavenly as itself (1 Corinthians 15:35-49; 2 Corinthians 5:1-5). This is already the case with our human nature in Christ (Philippians 3:21); and the change will proceed from the Head to the members (1 Corinthians 15:23), who will be conformed to his "body of glory," as now they are being conformed to his spiritual image (Romans 8:9-11, 29, 30; Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18; John 17:22-26; 1 John 4:17). The textual change from "your" to "our" is doubtful (see note on Colossians 2:13). Observe that "Christ" is repeated four times in the last four verses. Who is our life (ζωὴ)

See on John 1:4. The life is not only with Christ, it is Christ. Compare John 14:6; 2 Corinthians 4:10, 2 Corinthians 4:11; 1 John 5:11, 1 John 5:12. For the change of person, our for your, see on Colossians 2:13.

Shall appear (φανερωθῇ)

Rev., correctly, shall be manifested. Compare 1 John 3:2, note. See on Romans 3:21.

In glory

Compare Romans 8:17.

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