Friday, September 29, 2006

The Hidden Man

…your real life is hidden with Christ in God
(Colossians 3:3 – NLT)

In the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Shorter Catechism states that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. To glorify God is to worship Him. The big problem with people and their desires today is that they don’t enjoy God, and they don’t want to worship Him. They go to church, but they don’t enjoy it. Perhaps they go to church to find enjoyment, then they have a problem or two or a few, and then they don’t enjoy church anymore, and they leave.

Unfortunately, some have then justified the means of doing whatever it takes so that people WILL enjoy a worship service, but that isn’t of God, necessarily. They are doing the enjoying before and in order to do the worshipping, and putting the cart before the horse, so to speak. To be able to enjoy God, we must first worship Him, and to do that, in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:24), we must find our hidden life in Christ.

If we are truly enjoying God, we won’t be affected so much by what happens, because we won’t notice, because we are enjoying God. It is not “blessing out” or denying reality, but living a new reality where what happens to the flesh is inconsequential to your joy; you take whatever remedial steps are necessary and then get back to focusing on God. You enjoy even in the trials (James 1:2) because it is just God letting you suffer the death of the flesh (1 Peter 4:1), and it is a wonderful thing if you want it to die (Romans 12:1-2), and so you further enjoy God.

Look for things that come from above, stop focusing on the flesh, to focus on the flesh is to not enjoy God, and you will find yourself in sin. Your old man is not subject to the law of God, never was, never will be (Romans 8:7-8). To find your life you must find Christ, who is hid in God. The question about everything and every situation is, “where is Christ in this?” We need to find Him to find ourselves enjoying God, because that is where we are if we are born again.

Many can say that they have Christ in them, but they haven’t yet found themselves in Him. No wonder we don’t enjoy church and the things of God, no wonder we spend so much time focusing on the flesh, its desires, and how to overcome them. The truth is that The New You doesn’t need to overcome, he just needs to be found, and he is hid with Christ in God. So where is He and how do we find Him?

John 12:20-26
It would seem as if Jesus is avoiding the question, but in reality (verily, verily) He is pointing them to the real answer to seeing Him as He truly is. If you would see Jesus he tells you how it’s to be done; you must be willing to die. So to die is to find Him, to find your life in Christ.

Romans 12:1-2
A living sacrifice seems to go against what Jesus was saying in John 12, but think about it, what happens is that you find a new life, you live in the flesh still, but a new man emerges (1 Corinthians 15:10 / 2 Corinthians 4:10-5:15 / Galatians 2:20 / Ephesians 4:22-24 / Philippians 1:20-21 / Colossians 2:6-11). This is your spiritual act of worship, yes; it is how we can begin to enjoy God. So to die, to find your life in Christ, that is what it is to worship God, and that is how we can enjoy Him.

Remember, dying is painful (1 Peter 4:1), and the hidden man of the heart doesn’t care for superfluous ornamentation (1 Peter 3:4), He does only what is necessary and moves on to God (2 Corinthians 5:16). Consider Ephesians 4:17-18 – many are alienated from the Life of God, not being broken by their sin. Consider 2 Timothy 2:11 – most people haven’t as yet died to the flesh in their condition.

When your life is hidden, it doesn’t matter what happens in this life, you can James 1:2, you can be free of the fear of those that would kill the body, but can’t kill the soul, you can wear the full armor of God, you can be filled with the Spirit, and you can manifest the life of Christ in your body. The hidden man can’t be touched; he is hid with Christ in God. Only the old man can be slain. And the hidden man gladly accepts this so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in his body (2 Corinthians 4:10). He understands that though his outward man perishes, yet his inward man is renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16).

He is there, hidden behind your flesh; find Him

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

”To be able to enjoy God, we must first worship Him, and to do that, in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:24), we must find our hidden life in Christ.”

I don’t want to over-analyze details (someone once teasingly told me the root of analyze is “anal”), but as I am looking towards John 7:38 in S.S., I was curious as to why you capitalized “Spirit” & “Truth.” The translations I’ve studied would appear to see these terms as referring to an individual’s “spirit” being properly prostrate before God, while recognizing the reality, or “truth” of his sin nature; for they don’t capitalize them. I have thought & taught before about this “spirit” referring to the Holy Spirit, as there is ample textural support in John 4 & 7 for this; but I have only briefly considered “truth” as a direct reference to Christ, in deference to John 14:6.

"The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and Truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and Truth."


Maybe, with this capitalization, we have further evidence that it is only by the Spirit’s inner witness to our depravity & despondency apart from Christ (Rom. 7), that we may enter in to Christ & offer righteous worship solely through His righteousness (Rom. 8).

Comments, JD, or anyone? Is this right or wrong?

Even So... said...

I agree, John 4:24 is talking about a person's attitude and actions, not Jesus'. I was using it as another application, perhaps unwarranted.

To be able to enjoy God, we must first worship Him, and to do that, in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:24), we must find our hidden life in Christ.

Yes, this could (should) be clearer. Perhaps I shouldn't have placed the comma after the word "that" and before "in". Also the referecne to John 4:24 could have been left out so as to make my point more directly.
Then it would read...

To be able to enjoy God, we must first worship Him, and to do that in Spirit and in Truth, we must find our hidden life in Christ.

IOW, to worship God in Christ's power, we best do that by finding our hidden man. When we live the crucified life as condition rather than just position, as we become more sanctified, we worship God out of true fellowship, we are living out from our new man.

Maybe, with this capitalization, we have further evidence that it is only by the Spirit’s inner witness to our depravity & despondency apart from Christ (Rom. 7), that we may enter in to Christ & offer righteous worship solely through His righteousness (Rom. 8).

Yeah, I think that says it about right. Thanks for the input...

This is also why I capitalized "Him" at the end when referring to the hidden man. It is not that your hidden man is God, but is one with God (1 Corintihans 6:17). It represents Jesus living on the inside of you, and you in communion with Him.

Craver Vii said...

A tangent:

"Unfortunately, some have then justified the means of doing whatever it takes so that people WILL enjoy a worship service, but that isn’t of God, necessarily."

True, but there is another side to consider as well. Should the quality of church furniture, electronics, etc.,
be at least comparable to what members of the local congregation have in their homes? Is it okay to have big screen televisions and thousand-dollar stereo systems (I don't actually have all that in my own home), but then use cheap Radio Shack hand-me-downs for leading worship? Mmmmm...I don't think so. Let it be the opposite! Let's be super-frugal with personal spending and extravagant (beyond what is comfortable) with the offering plate, benevolence offerings, missions, etc.

Even So... said...

Good point Craver, and might we also then say that we should dress up for church, at least a little, if we are going to wear a suit and tie to the office? I won't die on that hill, but it makes some sense...

Of course you probabaly realize that the quote you used was about the seeker friendly, gospel lite, no cross, circus atmosphere we see today...

Your thoughts are appreciated, most definitely...

Craver Vii said...

Yes, again cultural context gives me a clue on what I decide to do here. If I am visiting a Japanese church where they all dress up with jacket and tie, I will do the same. If we dress up a little for work or dinner dates, it wouldn't hurt to spiff things up a bit for Sunday as well. But if the normal clothing for visiting a restaurant or going to our daily jobs is casual, I do not find it to be a distraction. I try not to bring attention to myself when it should be focused up front or "upward." Whether formal or casual, that can go both ways.

There is a statement that I often use for its shock value:
I just love to tell people that I go to a seeker-friendly church. People who know me or my church do a double-take, and then I explain:
Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost. JESUS is the seeker, and we make every effort to please HIM in every way possible.

Even So... said...

Good stuff...

Taliesin said...

Colossians 3:1-4 is one of my favorite paragraphs of Scripture. :) Great reminders in this post JD.

Regarding clothing, I think dressing at the level of the general attenders is wise. I used to wear a tie every day but one of the members mentioned that I didn't look very comfortable in it. I realized then that the majority of the congregation did not have the resources for suit and tie/fancy dress for Sunday. Therefore, I started dressing more like most of the members (which is pretty comparable to work). But I'm open to other opinions.

Even So... said...

I think dressing at the level of the general attenders is wise.

So do I...to an extent; of course the only dress code God has is humility...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your opinion, JD. Sorry to have disappeared for a while, but me & Craig were quite busy.


To be able to enjoy God, we must first worship Him, and to do that in Spirit and in Truth, we must find our hidden life in Christ.


Yeah, this clarification is a good one; in order to worship the Father in spirit & truth (being humble in spirit due to the truth of unquenching depravity apart from Him), we must find our life in Spirit & Truth, for They are our source of such qualities.


This is also why I capitalized "Him" at the end when referring to the hidden man. It is not that your hidden man is God, but is one with God (1 Corinthians 6:17). It represents Jesus living on the inside of you, and you in communion with Him.

No, I didn’t catch that subtlety at first. So, I guess you’re saying to find him, we must search out Him first.

Even So... said...

Yep...

Deviant Monk said...

even so-

In the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Shorter Catechism states that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

I appreciate your comments on 'enjoying' God, and thought they were interesting. However, I think that the West. Conf. offers a faulty teleology in regards to anthropology. I was thinking about a quote from CS Lewis which goes soemthing like this:

"I'm not so sure God wants us to be happy. God wants us to love and to be loved."

Our 'chief end' isn't to glorify God, as if God needed us for God to be glorified, or to enjoy God, as if delight in being a friend of God is our reason for existence- rather, we are created to love and to be loved. This purpose, if you will, flows out of the very nature of the eternal Trinity- the ability to love and to be loved is foundationally what is the imago dei.

That being said, I then understand that this nature we have as humanity means that part of loving and being loved is both enjoyment and pain. Truly, it is the possiblity of pain that makes loving meaningful- to again invoke Lewis, it is 'part of the deal.' Following God and loving God is therefore both defined as much through our 'enjoying God' as through the sufferngs we face.

Anyway, just a few thoughts. Sorry if it's a bit off topic.

Even So... said...

No, not really off topic, and yes, it would depend on how we qualify the words "glorify God". Certainly you are correct in saying that God doesn't need us at all.

My understanding is that to glorify God is to reflect His glory to those whom don't and those whom do know Him. I would say Isaiah 43:7 gives us a proper application.

BTW, I do not subscribe to the WCF, and I love Lewis, but both are only tools, and I agree at points, and also disagree at points with them both.

Of course, I don't want to say that I am the arbiter of who and what is right or wrong (DM, let's not go down that path today, ok?)...

;-)

Even So... said...

BTW everybody, there is nothing wrong in asking for a defining of terms. Christianese, and flavors of such, can leave us equivocating all over the place...

This would also be why, when we define terms, it helps so that we don't have to repeat ourselves over and over again, and why dialogue has to happen on so many levels.

It is not that men are being haughty by using words or phrases such as ordo salutis, for example, it is that those who understand the phrase and all it means when unpacked can move on to discuss matters related to such things.

Doctors, engineeers, physicists, and even families have particular nomenclature, and it is good for those who want to explore theology in more depth to gain a grasp of these things.

hmmm, perhaps a post soon on this...

Jonathan Moorhead said...

It seems like many to do not enjoy worshipping God because worship was never their intent anyways. It is always what they can get out of the experience, not what they can give to God. This stems from a lack of understanding of God. As Edwards writes in his “Religious Affections,” one of the marks of a true believer is that they worship God for His Being. Most “Christians” don’t know enough about God to do this.

Craver Vii said...

...they worship God for His Being. Most “Christians” don’t know enough about God to do this.

Yes!! That's when I find it especially helpful to open up a Psalm, personalize it, and pray those words back to God. Because I know that whether because of sin or immaturity, I do not know how to worship God like I should.

And that's one reason I like prayer meetings so much. I get to participate as others approach the throne. Sometimes I hear the way someone is praying, and I learn something about worship. Learning is a fringe benefit to corporate prayer.

Anonymous said...

nice points there...learning to worship and pray is a HUGE benefit to corporate prayer/worship. Praise God!