Colossians 3:3-4 very simply sets forth the method and the dynamics of our transformation.
For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. (Colossians 3:3-4, NASB)
It, of course, centers on Christ. When He, who is our life, comes to us and is revealed to us, then we also will be revealed with Him in glory. To flesh this out, it will help if we look at two other references, 1 John 3:2 and Philippians 3:21.
In 1 John 3:2, John suggests that our transformation will happen when we look at Jesus and see Him. We will be like Him when we see Him just as He is. Then in Philippians 3:21, Paul gives us the dynamics of our transformation. He says that God will transform our humble bodies into a glorious body like His, “by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.” In other words, when He comes and is revealed to us, our transformation will happen suddenly, with great force and power!
Now let’s back up and lay out the entire transformation process step by step, as we have it for us in Colossians 3:3-4.
- When we first came to Christ and believed, we died with Him. Our old life died with Him on the cross (Gal. 2:20; Rom. 6:4).
- We were made alive with Him. When Christ was raised from the dead we too were raised and given a new life in Christ (Rom. 6:4; 2 Cor. 5:17).
- Our new life is now hidden with Christ in God. Since Christ lives in us, this new life of ours is then actually inside of us.
- Very soon Christ will come to this earth to receive us to Himself (1 Thess. 4:17).
- By His power He will resurrect all the dead in Christ (all those who are part of the church—His bride). Then He will snatch up all those of the believing church who are alive. So I see this text as the first phase of His coming.
- As Christ is resurrecting the dead in Christ, and as He is snatching up the living ones, He will cause them to look at Him; and when our eyes meet His, we will see Him just as He is and we will all instantly and powerfully be changed (transformed) to be as He is—a body of glory.
Now I want to make another observation from the text. It seems to me that since Christ is in us, and He is our life (our real life), what I think will happen in the transformation process is that, as our eyes meet His eyes, He will cause His power to energize the life of Christ already in us, to the extent that our entire being is transformed. In other words, it won’t be as though He is bringing something entirely new to us, for we will already have Christ hidden in our soul. Thus I think it will be as if a spark, which is already in us, will instantly grow into a body of glory. It will be a body that we have been eagerly waiting for. No, there will be no great surprises, no shocks, only the great joy of seeing Him and being like Him at last!