The Appearing of Christ 10 – His Presence in His Body

The presence of the indwelling Christ is a reality that is often abandoned in today’s popular teachings about the Lord’s coming. These end-time teachings take lightly the magnitude of the present reality of Christ in His people, so much so that His imminent manifestation in His body has been concealed by images of an apocalyptic war, tribulations to come and rapture theology. But the truth is this – there is NOTHING that will happen on the earth with regards to the Kingdom of God apart from the indwelling Christ who has taken up His abode within man.

It should be settled in every believer’s heart that the kingdom of God is within the Lord’s people (Luk. 17:21). God has purposed from before the foundation of the world to make His tabernacle in man. Consider the words of the faithful One who has given us a sure word that He will dwell in us and that He will be with us even to the very end of the age (Matt. 28:20) Paul too declared that we are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in us (1 Cor. 3:16). Malachai’s prophecy has found its fulfillment; the Lord has come to His temple (Mal. 3:1). His temple is the new spiritual body He is bringing forth in His corporate body. This is the new covenant wherein God has promised saying: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people” (2 Cor. 6:16). In light of this divine plan, we should be careful to understand His coming in light of His indwelling reality in us. Paul declares that the Lord Jesus Christ is coming “to be glorified in His saints” (2 Thess. 1:10).

I’m sure this is a truth that majority will claim to embrace wholeheartedly. But in actuality, many have allowed this truth to be usurped by the false teachings of religious Babylon. It’s unfortunate that unenlightened men in their false humility have muddled the word of God distorting the truth about God’s plan in and through man. While they claim that Christ is in you, with the same breathe they announce that Jesus Christ is coming one day. Though they profess His indwelling reality, they also wait for one from without. In their ignorance they deny the work God has begun in His saints and reject the very purpose of the cross.

The Jews waited for the Messiah to come not recognizing that He was present in their midst. To this day they wait. John the Baptist also asked: “are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?” (Mat. 11:3). At least John had the spiritual fortitude to ask. On the contrary, my generation of the Lord’s people keep looking for someone else to come, while they pay lip-service to Him who is present in their midst.

Jesus wept over Jerusalem and the destruction that was to come upon her. Why? He told the Pharisees: “because you did not know the time of your visitation” (Luke 19:44). The Pharisees missed the Lord Jesus Christ in their day. Jesus said of them: “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes” (Luke 19:42). The Pharisees failed to recognize His presence. Therefore, they missed the time of their visitation. No one would wish the destruction that came upon Jerusalem on their worst enemy. But is this not the condition of the church system of our day. Should we not also weep over the spiritual bankruptcy and blindness that has come upon those in her pews who are oblivious to the time of their visitation?

Dear precious saint, may you be awakened to know that now is the time of your visitation, for Christ is present in you. He is there actively working, speaking and living from the deep recesses of your spirit. He is the present One, Emmanuel; God with us. He is encountering us in our now and by His indwelling presence we are being illuminated and transformed into His image.

In the original Greek of the New Testament, whenever the scriptures speak of the coming of the Lord, six words are used for the word ‘coming’. One of these is the word ‘parousia’, which captures the truth I now share. The word appears 24 times in scripture. It means ‘presence’ and it comes from the verb ‘paremi’ which means “to be present”. This indicates not the act of coming or the arrival of a person, but the presence of one who has already arrived. It’s much like a student who responds to a roll-call saying ‘present’ since they are already in the classroom.

The word ‘parousia’ captures the same idea; it indicates the presence of Christ as One who has already arrived and is present in His saints. The word does not refer to an event or the act of coming, but a state or condition. Thus, the antonym of ‘parousia (presence) is ‘apousia’ (absence). Paul uses both word to contrast his physical presence and absence among the believers at Philippi, he states: “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my PRESENCE (parousia) only, but now much more in my absence (apousia), work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12). The translation of the word ‘parousia’ as ‘coming’ is not an accurate meaning of the word, nor can the word be used in relation to an imminent “second coming”.

Consider the usage of the word: “We may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His COMING (presence)” (1 Jn. 2:28). “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the COMING (presence) of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thes. 5:23). “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His COMING (presence)” (2 Thes. 2:8).

The ‘parousia’ indicates the existing indwelling reality of Christ in His saints, which is to increase unto His ultimate manifestation. The Spirit of inspiration echoes the glorious truth that Christ in you is the hope of glory (Col. 1:27). Every child of God has received Christ in them as a seed. But only those who are in tune with the inner voice and who are obedient to the prompting of His indwelling life are pressing forward unto the full expression of God’s glory. The Amplified version reads that Christ within you is “the Hope of realizing the glory”. Realizing the glory is not possible without first receiving Christ in you. Thus, the indwelling Christ is THE HOPE, the ONLY HOPE we have of apprehending the glory of God. Some understand this verse as receiving Christ and being guaranteed the bliss of heaven.

Men often associate glory with a celestial location which they call heaven. Glory is the nature that belongs to God. Glory or the Hebrew ‘kabod’ means splendor, honor, and weight. The Greek word is ‘doxa’ and has a similar meaning – brightness, excellence, preeminence, and majesty. His glory encompasses every aspect of who He is; His life, His nature, His mind, His power. It refers to the absolute perfect personal excellence of God. It is the highest condition and the most exalted state. It is a reality and dimension of life that every child of God is called to attain to.
But we should never lose sight of the truth that the totality of this glory is possessed in the indwelling Christ. For Christ is the sole expression of the glory of God, the radiance of the divine, the perfect imprint and very image of God’s nature (Heb. 1:3). In light of this truth, it is necessary that each saint turn inward to the indwelling Christ in order to experience and get hold of the full splendor and excellence of this glory. This is why the Spirit declares the great mystery that Christ in you is the hope of glory.

Dear saint, contrary to the utilitarian Christianity of the day, the Christ in you is not a ticket to heaven. Nor is He fuel for the journey, He is not in you to make your earthly stay a bit more comfortable. He is in you for the very purpose of manifesting Himself in and through you. Your resurrection, your transformation, your renewal, your metamorphosis, your adoption, you manifestation and everything that you will ever gain that is heavenly and divine can only be realized through the Christ in you. There is no other hope. A Jesus Christ riding through the sky is NOT the hope of glory you are called to wait for! The presence of the One who dwells in you is both the means and the end to God’s kingdom agenda. If you will lay hold of this truth, you will understand a great mystery about His coming.

The truth is just this: the Lord is not coming from outside of you, He is coming from within the heavens of your regenerated spirit to transform your soul and body. The development or movement of the kingdom is from inside out and not outside in, for the sphere of the kingdom is the heart of man. The presence of Christ is within you and it is His increase within that will ultimately find expression in the world to usher in His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. The increase of the kingdom in your life is the effect of Christ’s preeminence within you. And it is the progressive increase of His life and power in the new man that will lead to God’s presence being personified in the perfected body of Christ. Amen!

 

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