Colossians 3:4

That Which Is Hidden Shall Appear


Christ Our Life Is Hidden

A. Christ Is Our Life

1. Phil. 1:21 – for to me to live is Christ.

2. I John 5:12 – He that hath the Son hath life. John equates possessing Christ with possessing eternal life. He IS our life. He dwells within us.

3. John 11:25 – He is the resurrection and the LIFE.

4. John 14:6 – He is the way, the truth and the LIFE.

5. He is our life… and our life is hidden with Him in glory.

B. Christ’s Glory Was Hidden From the World During His Earthly Ministry

1. Jesus came to earth and didn’t look like anyone special… He had no form or comeliness… He looked like any other man in Israel. (Isa. 53:3)

2. John 1:11 – He came to His own and His own received Him not.

a. They were not looking for a meek and gentle Messiah.

b. They wanted a powerful Messiah with a massive army to overthrow Rome.

c. They thought Jesus might be “John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”

3. John 1:10 – He was in the world and the world was made by Him, but the world knew Him not.

4. Christ was in the world in a mortal human body but His true glory as the Eternal Son of God was HIDDEN from most men.

5. His deity was VEILED (covered up) in human flesh. (Veiled in flesh the godhead see! Hail the incarnate Deity!)

6. At His first coming He was NOT seen for who He really is. He was NOT hailed as Deity. He was crucified as a common criminal.

7. On the mount of Transfiguration, the Lord gave His disciples a little GLIMPSE of His glory… but they were told to tell no man.

8. The world did not see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

9. His true identity and glory were HIDDEN from the world.

10. The world looked upon Him as a root growing out of dry ground… nothing comely or special about Him.

a. But Jesus WAS special and unique, whether men in the world recognized it or not! He was the glorious Son of God… Creator of Heaven and earth, but it was veiled in human flesh!

b. Christ was physically present on earth, but His inner glory was veiled… hidden from the world.

C. The Glorified Christ is Presently Hidden From the World

1. Because the world did not recognize Him, they rejected His claims as the Son of God and crucified Him for those claims.

2. But because He WAS who He claimed to be—whether the world saw Him as such or not—it was not possible that He should be held down by death!

3. 3:1 – Christ arose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God.

4. From that heavenly position, He is HIDDEN from the world even further. His inner glory was veiled on earth. Now He is hidden altogether.

a. In heaven, Christ now appears in the full dazzling glory of Deity on God’s very throne!

b. The glory that was ALWAYS His is no longer veiled from sight in heaven. All the saints and angels see Him in His glorified human body… in the full splendor of divine glory… and they worship Him.

c. There is no mistaking who He is in heaven.

d. On earth, Christ’s glory is veiled in mortal human flesh and thus HIDDEN from the unbelieving world.

e. In heaven, that veil of mortality has been removed, and He now appears in heaven in the same glory that He previously shared with the Father in eternity past.

f. His complete glory is fully revealed in heaven, but because He is in heaven, His glory is still HIDDEN from those upon the earth. Natural eyes cannot see into this realm.

g. The unbelieving world cannot touch the Lord any more.

h. He is out of their sight and out of their reach.

i. Christ has not been seen for over 2000 years… in spite of all those who have claimed to have seen Him.

j. He entered within the veil of the heavenly Holy of Holies and is hidden from the sight of us who dwell upon the earth.

k. Paul got a glimpse of the resurrected Christ’s glory on the road to Damascus.

l. The apostle John got a glimpse of the glorified Son of God in Revelation chapter one, and fell down as a dead man.

m. No one has seen Him since. He is hidden.

n. Christ is presently hidden from the world.
• Today some believe Jesus was a great philosopher.
• Some think He was a moral teacher.
• Others think He was a fraud—a charlatan.
• Muslims believe He was a prophet.
• Mormons believe he was a man who became a god.
• Jehovah Witnesses believe He is an Angel.
• Many believe He was a myth… just a nice story.
• The true historic Jesus is hidden from the world today.

o. But He will not be hidden forever.

p. God’s plan is to fully manifest His glorious Son before the world.

But Christ Shall Appear

A. Christ Shall Appear

1. Christ will not be hidden away in glory forever.

a. One day He will be SEEN for who He really is… God Almighty… Creator of heaven and earth… eternally incarnate in glorified human flesh… the God-Man… King of kings… our Savior and High Priest in heaven.

b. That’s who He is… and though this truth is hidden from most men now, His true identity and glory will one day be revealed in an unmistakable and undeniable fashion.

2. At the Rapture Christ Shall Appear to the Church.

a. The Rapture is Christ’s appearing to the Church in the clouds to take His Bride to heaven. (I Thess. 4:13-18)
• At the rapture the dead in Christ are raised up in their glorified human bodies to be joined to their spirit which had been with the Lord since their death.
• At that time, our vile body is fashioned like unto His glorious body!
• At the Rapture, the last generation of Christians will be caught up with them to meet the Lord IN THE AIR.
• WE as members of the Church will see the Lord in that day… and from that day forward, for so shall we EVER be WITH the Lord.
• We are brought to heaven where He has prepared a place for us.

b. I John 3:1-2 – At the Rapture, Christ appears to the church, catches us up to heaven, and we shall SEE Him as He is! He is made visible to the resurrected, glorified church.
• Many understand this to be the meaning of Paul’s words in Col. 3:4.
• This is a common view among dispensationalists because Paul is speaking to the church and our relationship to Him.
• The rapture is Christ’s coming for the church. It is our Blessed Hope! (Titus 2:13)

c. But at the Rapture, the church sees Him as He is, but He is still HIDDEN from the world.
• He comes in the twinkling of an eye for His Bride (I Cor. 15:52)
• He does not descend to the earth but only to the clouds and catches believers up to Him.
• The true church is instantly GONE from the earth and the mother of all harlot religious systems takes over.
• At this point, the tribulation period begins on earth.
• But at this point, Christ and His Body are STILL hidden away in glory from the sight of the world.
• The unveiling has not yet occurred.

d. So if the Rapture is meant in vs. 4, then Paul must be speaking about the appearing of Christ TO THE CHURCH only, for He does NOT appear to the world at that point.

3. At the SECOND COMING Christ Shall Appear to the World

a. Two terms are used in this passage to indicate this contrast
• Hidden (krupto) (vs. 3)
• Appear (phanerow – to make manifest; make visible that which is invisible or hidden). (A synonym for apokalupsis – revelation.)
• The contrast is between that which is hidden (veiled) and that which appears (unveiled).

b. Most of the prophecies of the Second Coming associate it with Israel and the Kingdom. Hence, most commentators assume Col. 3:4 must speak of the Rapture.

c. However, the Bible ALSO states that the Church shares in the glory of Christ’s Second Coming!

d. I Peter 4:12-13 – Believers share in the REVELATION of Christ’s glory.
• When Christ returns at the Second Coming to establish His Kingdom, we will return WITH Him.
• We will REIGN with Him.

e. But more to the point, the Second Coming is a REVELATION… not hidden like the Rapture.
• Rev. 19:11-16 – Christ does not return as the weak and mild carpenter of Galilee, but as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! In full, blazing glory! The veil is removed.
• This occurs seven years AFTER the Rapture… after the Tribulation Period… and just prior to the establishment of the Kingdom.
• He does not return in a secret, hidden fashion, but every eye shall see Him! (Rev. 1:7)
• The last time the world saw Christ was when His beaten, bruised, whipped, bloody dead corpse was being taken down from the cross and placed in a tomb… bleeding and lifeless. His true glory was veiled in weak, human flesh.
• Luke 21:27 – And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
• When He returns at the Second Coming, He comes in a resurrected, glorified human body… through which His inner glory radiates in divine splendor!
• The glory of Christ will not be hidden any longer in that day. It is the day of REVELATION.

f. The Second Coming is completely different than His coming for the church, the Rapture.
• Sometimes distinguished as Rapture and Revelation.
• At the rapture Christ is not seen by the world, but at the Second coming every eye shall see Him.
• At the rapture, Christ does not descend to the earth but only to the clouds to catch us up. In the Second Coming Christ descends to the earth.
• The Rapture is His coming to take His Bride to glory.
• The Revelation is His coming to rescue Israel from the destruction of Armageddon and establish His Kingdom.
• The Rapture is hidden from all eyes on earth. The Second Coming is His revelation of who He is…
• And this Revelation of His divine glory spells destruction to those who reject Him. (II Thess. 1:7-9)

g. At the Second Coming Christ is fully revealed for who He is. The Eternal Son of God is manifested to the world.

We Too Shall Appear With Him in Glory

A. At the Rapture the Church Appears With Christ in Heavenly Glory

1. We shall appear with Him in GLORY in the future.

a. That means that the GLORY of the church is presently HIDDEN from physical SIGHT, but one day will be seen for what it is… and for what we are: sons of God!

b. The church is glorious, whether the world recognizes that glory or not. In fact, the church is glorious even if the CHURCH doesn’t recognize its own glory! Too often we treat it as something common.

c. Our humanness and frailty of the flesh veils the glory that the church is…

2. A certain glory belongs to the believer today.

a. We have already received this heavenly glory positionally.

b. It is as good as ours. (Rom. 8:30)

c. But it has not yet been revealed. The GLORY of the believer is still hidden today.

d. The world doesn’t see anything glorious about us! There is nothing comely about the church in the world. It seems the world only sees the spots and wrinkles.

e. That is because the true glory of the Body of Christ is spiritually discerned… and the natural man cannot discern that which is spiritual. He has natural eyes; but he cannot see the spiritual realm.

f. Neither can the carnal Christian appreciate the true glory of the church! To him it’s a club; a social gathering; it’s a tradition; it’s something we go to when it’s convenient.

3. There IS something glorious about the believer right now… something unknown and unappreciated by the world!

a. We are created in God’s image… and little by little that image, marred by sin, is being restored: from glory to glory.

b. We are indwelt with Deity! Christ lives in us! (Col. 1:27).

c. Our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Ghost!

d. Our sins are GONE!

e. We are new creatures… part of the New Creation…with a new heart…

f. We are citizens of heaven!

g. We are sons of God… born from above… members of God’s family.

h. We are members of the Body of Christ… the Bride of Christ!

i. We possess ALL spiritual blessings in Christ.

j. We are heirs of ALL things… and joint heirs with Christ.

k. We are to reign with Christ in the Kingdom!

l. We have been raised up with Christ far above all principalities and powers.

m. We shall judge the angels one day.

n. We have access for daily living to the same resurrection power that raised Jesus from the dead.

o. We are ambassadors for Christ to beseech men to be reconciled to God.

p. We are chosen vessels to manifest the LIFE of Christ.

q. We are a holy priesthood and a holy Temple of God.

r. II Cor. 4:7 – All that treasure in an earthen vessel!

s. Our earthen bodies veil the glorious treasure within: new creation life!

t. In a similar fashion Christ’s inner glory as Deity was “veiled in human flesh.”

4. There IS something special and even GLORIOUS about the believer in Christ today… but the world knows nothing of it.

a. The natural man can only see the outward appearance.

b. From the outside, we don’t look any different from our unsaved neighbors… from a Buddhist… from an atheist…

c. Just as Jesus came to earth and didn’t look like anyone special… like a root out of dry ground… He had no form or comeliness… He looked like any other man in Israel.

d. But Jesus WAS special and unique, whether men in the world recognized it or not! He was the glorious Son of God! Deity veiled in human flesh!

e. And when viewed by sight, there is nothing special about us as believers as we walk on the earth. We don’t look special. You can’t tell a Christian just by his outward appearance. Christians come in all sizes, shapes, and colors.

f. Our heavenly position in Christ and our resurrection life are HIDDEN today. We possess it all NOW, but it is hidden from the sight of the natural eye.

5. It is understandable when the believer’s glory is hidden from the world. But unfortunately, it is also often hidden from US as believers!

a. The world doesn’t understand or appreciate our glorious position and possessions as believers.

b. But sadly, many Christians don’t understand or appreciate our unspeakable riches in Christ either!

c. Many believers walk about on earth defeated and discouraged as if they were unaware that they are already victors, indwelt, and possessors of spiritual riches untold!

d. God has revealed these riches to us in a book that is hidden from the world… there is as it were a veil over their eyes as they read the Scriptures. Satan has blinded the minds of men to the truth of God’s Word.

e. But our eyes have been opened… and we need to spend TIME in God’s Word and hearing it taught…

f. Eph. 1:18 – Therefore PRAY for one another that God would OPEN OUR EYES to deeper understanding of our heavenly calling. KNOWING this glorious truth engenders HOPE and excitement for the things of the Lord!

g. Some believers do not avail themselves of spending time in the Word or in the local church… and are ignorant of their wonderful position in Christ.

h. And we walk about as if being a son of God was no different than being in the Elk’s club… or going to church was no different than some other chore we have to do.

i. But in spite of our failures and ignorance, there is a day coming when the entire church of God will be called up to glory… at the Rapture… our bodies raised incorruptible… and we shall enter into GLORY!

6. At the Rapture, this glory will be revealed to the CHURCH.

a. In that day it will finally sink in to ALL of us, just how RICH we are in Christ… what it means to be a called, heavenly saint of God… and reign with Christ…

b. In that day the Lord will put an utter END to the ignorance of believers with respect to our privileged position and riches in Christ! We will be in glorified bodies in heaven experiencing it all!

c. Our wavering faith will be replaced by sight.

d. The Rapture will reveal to the CHURCH who we really are. ?
• “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be.” (I John 3:2)
• Presently we ARE in the glorious position as a son of God, but it does not APPEAR to be so.
• Sight doesn’t tell us that… only faith does.

e. At the Rapture, the church is still HIDDEN from the world.

f. The rapture is not a manifestation TO THE WORLD of who we are. It is a revelation to US who we are!

g. It is our privilege as believers to gather together on the Lord’s Day and LEARN about these riches… that we might get excited and appreciative of the supernatural work God is doing IN us… and so excited that we go out from here and tell others what Christ wants to do in them too!

7. Col. 1:27 – Christ in us is the HOPE of that future glory.

a. That is why His indwelling presence is so precious to the believer.

b. His indwelling presence is a constant REMINDER of the hope of our glorious future… which in turn enables us to persevere and endure through hardships down here!

c. Every time we read His Word, pray in His name, have fellowship with Christ, or worship Him, we are reminded that our present earthly condition is but a vapor.

d. One day soon we shall appear with Christ in glory… in the glorified state… in heaven.

e. Christ’s indwelling presence in the believer, experienced through faith, is a foretaste of that glory divine!

f. It could happen any moment!

8. Our Blessed Hope is that Christ is Coming for Us!

a. Then shall we appear with Him.

b. Right now our lives are hidden away like a seed planted and hidden in the ground.
• A seed doesn’t look all that glorious.
• There is nothing attractive about a seed.
• In fact, it’s impossible to tell what a seed will become by looking at it. (weed; flower; maple tree; fruit tree; poison ivy, broccoli?)
• But INSIDE that little seed is LIFE… a treasure waiting to spring forth and grow. That tiny unattractive seed (us!) has all it needs to flourish and become what it was designed to BE.
• But before the seed can grow and be manifested for what it really is… it must first be hidden away in the ground for a season.
• In this earthly life, the believer’s LIFE is hidden from the world… hidden in Christ.

c. But when Christ appears to the world in power and great glory, we shall sprout forth and be SEEN for what we really are!

d. This is the manifestation of the sons of God. We shall be like Him!

e. In that day there will be no mistaking who we are.

f. It will be clear to all who see, both men and angels: we are the sons of God!

g. But at the rapture, that glory is only manifested to US… and not to the world.

B. At the SECOND COMING WE Shall Be Revealed to the World

1. Christ will be fully revealed at His Second Coming—in power and great glory. Every eye shall see Him for who He is.

2. But WE TOO shall be revealed to the world in that day.

a. At the rapture, the glory of the church will be revealed to the church… fully… but still hidden from the world.

b. At the revelation, the glory of Christ AND of His Body will be fully revealed to the WORLD!

c. It is difficult to see how the Rapture FITS into Paul’s argument in Colossians 3.
• The contrast is between (on the one hand) Christ and the believers’ new life HIDDEN from the world’s sight presently… and (on the other hand) Christ and the believer REVEALED to the world’s sight in the future.
• That revelation does not happen at the rapture.
• At the rapture the church’s life is STILL hidden. The Rapture is not an APPEARING of the church. It is the REMOVAL of the church.
• But when Christ returns in power and great glory, we return WITH Him… in our glorified state…
• AND we return with Him to the world… where the sons of God are MANIFESTED to the world for who we really are… and have been all along!

d. Rev. 19:14 – We return with Christ in His glory. We return in glorified bodies… like His!

e. I Peter 4:12-13 – Believers share in the REVELATION of Christ’s glory.

f. So Paul takes us full circle with Christ.
• We were with Him in His death, we were with Him in His burial; we were with Him in His resurrection; we were with Him in His ascension, we were with Him in His being seated at the Father’s right hand, we are with Him while He is presently hidden from the world.
• And finally, we will be with Him at the REVELATION to the world… sharing in His glory!

g. Rom. 8:18 – now we suffer, but one day GLORY shall be REVEALED in us.
• Today the believer appears to be weak, suffering, beaten down by the world—defeated.
• But in that day, the believer will be seen for what he is: MORE than a conqueror in Christ! Victorious! Glorified! Ruling and reigning with Christ! Sons of God!
• Today we suffer. Today we are despised and rejected of men. Today we are pilgrims and strangers on earth.
• But in that day, we return with Christ, sharing in His glory… to rule and reign upon the earth! No more strangers and pilgrims, but glorified Kings and Priests unto God!
• Christ returns in power and glory and the kingdoms of this world will become the Kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ… and we reign with Him!
• Whatever suffering we experience today will be completely overshadowed by the glory to be revealed in us then!
• That’s why today we can run the race with patience, looking unto Jesus… keeping our eyes upon Him and the glory to come will enable us to persevere today!

h. Rom. 8:19 – Creation awaits the revelation of the sons of God.
• Why? Because when the Revelation comes (of Christ and of His Body), THEN the kingdom is established, and the curse on the earth begins to be lifted.
• There will be a future regeneration of the earth too. That is what the creation (figuratively speaking) awaits eagerly.
• This revelation of the believer has to do with the Second Coming… when we are manifested… revealed to the world.
• The terms revealed (vs. 18) and manifestation (vs. 19) are the same Greek term (noun and verb form) of apokalupsis (the name of the last book of the Bible) It is a final UNVEILING of Christ’s glory.
• We are hidden… veiled from the world today.
• When Christ returns in power and great glory He reveals who HE is…
• AND He reveals who His BRIDE is! That’s us!

• Lightfoot says: “The veil which now shrouds your higher life from others, will then be withdrawn. The world which now persecutes, despises, ignores now, will then be blinded with the dazzling glory of the revelation.”

3. God WANTS us to know who we are in Christ.

a. God wants us to know of our glorious position in Him.

b. God wants us to be aware of His indwelling presence… the GLORY of our calling…

c. Because in the next section, He tells us to LIVE as if we really believed it!

d. Nothing will motivate us to holy living… like KNOWING who we are in Christ!

e. Nothing will motivate us to evangelize the lost than a fresh glimpse of the riches in Christ available to whosoever shall call upon His name…

f. Nothing will give us more determination to endure trials, forbear slights and insults, love our enemies, and to look past the spots and wrinkles in the body and see the indwelling glory of Christ… more than having our eyes opened to this glorious truth… Eph. 1:18 – that ye may KNOW what is the hope of your calling!

g. And lest this talk go to our heads, and we get puffed up thinking that we are rich, powerful, and important… remember that we are NOTHING on our own… but COMPLETE in Him.


1. These riches in Christ are available to you too.
2. But God wants you to first see what you are apart from Christ: a sinner, condemned to the Lake of Fire, unable to save yourself.
3. God also wants you to know that on the cross, Christ died for YOU… and paid the penalty for all YOUR sins. The work is finished.
4. And God offers eternal life to you… IF you will come to Him His way: through faith. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.

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