Hidden in Christ
The loyalty of the saints is an inner, even hidden trait. If the true identity of Christ our Lord, his inner Person begotten of the Father, remains a mystery concealed from the world (John 14:22), something similar is also said rightly of those who put their hope in Christ, because they too are defined by their communion with the Father in Christ. They are known by God (John 10:14; 1 Corinthians 8:3; 13:12). To be sure, the world is able to look at Christians and label them for social and demographic purposes (Acts 11:26), but it does not really know them.
“You died,” wrote Paul to the Colossians, “and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (3:3). These Christians, whom the world can outwardly distinguish by remarking on peculiar cultural and social patterns, carry about in their lives, amid circumstances however humble, the only force available to mankind for the redemption and transformation of its history. On this earth, the treasure of God is veiled and borne about in earthen vessels (2 Corinthians 4:7). Like the clay pitchers of Gideon, the disciples of Christ convey the secret flame that must, in the end, force flight upon the Midianite.
Consequently, the coming of Christ at the end of time will reveal to the world, not only his own glory, but the glory of those who have hoped in him: “When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:4). Until that day when the inner meaning of history is manifest, it stays concealed except to the eyes of faith. “Beloved,” wrote the Apostle John, “now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when he is revealed, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).
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Patrick Henry Reardon is pastor emeritus of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago, Illinois, and the author of numerous books, including, most recently, Out of Step with God: Orthodox Christian Reflections on the Book of Numbers (Ancient Faith Publishing, 2019).
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