"A Special Grace"
What if the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to us physically, informing us that He purposed to administer a special portion of His grace, namely, that for the remainder of our earthly journey, He would be with us in tangible, visible, and audible sense, sight, and sound? How would it change our lives?
After the initial shock, awe, wonder, praise, and grateful expressions of thanksgiving, we would arise from our knees and faces to discover that life might not be as different as we suspect. In our present unglorified spiritual condition, the physical presence of our Lord would settle our hearts and empower our steps little more than the disciples experienced during their days of Christ's immediate proximity. I recall many years ago hearing a young man bemoan his challenges regarding a faithful walk with the Lord. "If only I could see or hear Him like the disciples did! Then I'm sure I'd be a lot more faithful!" Huh??? I recall wondering if he was talking about some other group of somebody's else's disciples. With all due respect to Peter, John, James, and the rest, a reading of the Gospel fails to confirm that the physical presence of the Lord Jesus transformed their hearts to any measurable degree of faith and faithfulness. One only needs to remember the trial and execution of the Savior to realize that the disciples required something more than mere proximity, sight, and sound to enable genuine spiritual reality. "They all forsook Him, and fled" (Mark 14:50).
After His death, resurrection, and ascension, the Lord provided "something more" for His disciples, and for all who have trusted Him for more than 2,000 years. He promised such grace before He left His beloved disciples, and then He delivered.
"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you" (John 16:7).
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father… And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you" (John 14:12;16-17).
"God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father" (Galatians 4:6).
"I will dwell in them and walk in them" (II Corinthians 6:16).
Still yourself for a moment, and raise the question in your heart. "Would I live more faithfully and more at peace today if I could see the Lord Jesus?" Your initial consideration will likely be "Of course!" Your next reaction? Dismiss the notion completely and unequivocally. As currently constituted, we are far more enabled by the unseen, but indwelling presence of the Spirit of Christ in our hearts. Sight, sound, and sensation are far too appealing and deceiving to our flesh that still awaits the perfection of glorification. We would have moments that might seem advantageous, and the thought of being in our Lord's direct presence should thrill us. However, we presently "walk by faith, not by sight" (II Corinthians 5:7). The truth of the matter is that our Lord is with and within us as much as He will ever be in the primary spiritual sense: "The things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal" (II Corinthians 4:18). Until glorification, therefore, we are far better off walking with and through the unseen Christ who fills our spirits and lives no less because we cannot see, hear, or touch Him.
The Day, the day of sight, sound, and sensation will come. "When He shall appear, we shall be like Him. For we shall see Him as He is" (I John 3:2). We should long for the blessed epiphany, and live our lives "looking for that blessed hope" (Titus 2:13). Until then, we seek to avail ourselves of a special grace that will not be ours in eternity. Yes, for now, we gaze upon the Light that "shineth in darkness" (John 1:5). We presently possess the capacity for a faith that must please our Father beyond any measure we can imagine. We trust His heart while not seeing His hand. This won't be the case after "the blessed hope" envelops us in the glory of Christ's fully revealed presence and redemption. The thought occurs that no beautiful moons, including orange ones, will shine in eternity after God's light fills all creation forevermore (Revelation 21:25). So, we'd better enjoy those moons now. And we'd best realize that the challenges of walking by faith rather than sight offer ways to honor and please our Lord in this day that won't be available then. Indeed, we shall not pass this way again, this way of "seeing Him who is invisible". Let us make the most of it.
"The just shall live by faith."
"Moses… endured, as seeing Him who is invisible."
(Hebrews 11:24; 27)
Weekly Memory Verse
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.