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The Hidden Christ

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The Hidden Christ
By
George Davis

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"But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them." (2 Cor. 4 ;3-4) NKJV

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith." (Heb.12:2)

"As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:14-15).

"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2Cor.3:18)

"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." (1John.3:2)

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The primary thrust of Satan's attack is to veil or hide Christ. He does this by any means he can, but primarily through the adulteration of the gospel - "another gospel," (2Corinthians 11:4, Galatians 1:9) in which a false image of Christ is presented. For in setting forth a false image of Christ he has effectively hidden Christ. We see an example of this in the first century "Judaizers", of whom Paul wrote, "to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. (Gal.2:5 emphasis mine)

Clearly, much of Paul's energy was spent contending for the preservation of the gospel. He knew that it was the power of God. Even Peter heard from Paul regarding his "hypocrisy", which Paul viewed as hurtful to the gospel of grace. (Gal.3;1-10) Paul "withstood him to his face."

Paul revealed his understanding of the enemy's tactics by the following words. "if our gospel is veiled." Satan's primary ploy is to veil the gospel and in doing so to hide Christ from view.

Had Satan understood God's redemptive plan, he would have done everything within his power to ensure that Christ died of old age. However he did become familiar with it, post facto, as those Christ-crazed Christians, turned his world up side down. Then he began his attempt to hide or veil the ONE that is altogether lovely. He had witnessed what happens when Christ is lifted up and his kingdom was still trembling from the aftermath of his last attempt to rid the world of Christ. What would he do? He must conceal Christ! How would he do it? He would use the best the world had to offer. There was Greek "Gnosticism", the Jewish "Judaizers" and best of all, Roman autocracy and paganism. These were some of the weavers of Satan's veil. They were by their very nature "antichrist", attempting to replace Christ. Satan was so successful that in time even the basic truth of salvation by faith was hidden from view. But Jesus had promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against the church that He builds. Which implied that they would try to do so.



Religion - Satan's most effective veil

In truth, restoration is not about "Church reform", but about Christ being made fully visible. It is about casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the true knowledge of God…" (See 2Corinthians 10:5)

Religion is the translucent veil through which Christ, is only faintly perceptible - permitting just enough light to clearly misrepresent Him, mistaking activity for devotion, calling believers away from simple devotion at the feet of Jesus, to a blur of churchly activity. Most Christians today behave differently from the first century believers, because Christ is not as clearly seen. The "high things" have exalted themselves against the knowledge of Christ and have obstructed Him from view.

When Christ is truly seen, people are changed, and, based upon that seeing, certain kinds of behavior are no longer acceptable. He is set before our eyes and we are transformed into His likeness. It is His example that reproves the world of sin and righteousness.

What was revealed in "The Reformation" was, for the most part, a literary understanding of Christ, not a spirit-wrought revelation of Him. For had they truly seen Christ, they would have never had the freedom of conscience to move in such unchecked savagery. The lamb-like nature of the servant Christ was not visible within their ranks. They hadn't truly seen Him. Their lamb carried a scepter and a sword not a servant's towel.

We take on the likeness of the Christ we behold.

In the papal system Christ was set forth as the head of an ecclesiastical order, severe and stern in disposition. Satan had done it. He had veiled Christ by portraying Him as austere and unapproachable - a christ that delighted in the death of the heretic, a christ represented by "Pontiffs" so laden in jewelry and heavy robes as to require the support of men to bear them up as they walked along. So abusive were these "vicars" and so destructive was their example, that an unholy fear of Jesus drove the people away from Him. They needed someone to shield them from this mean spirited christ. Enter good ole mamma Mary. She would protect them from her unruly son.

The first century church put a premium on leading by example. Wherein the godly elderly reflected Christ in the same way that Christ reflected the Father - inspiring others with the likeness of Christ, which they bore. They communicated more than a message. They were handing down the likeness and reflection of Christ, as He was set before them, "formed" in them and reflected through them.

Allow me to redefine reformation in these terms. True reformation is the work of grace resulting from a Spirit-wrought revelation of Christ, having nothing to do with reordering an ecclesiastical system. Study or scholastics do not facilitate it. All is dependent upon a God given revelation of Christ.

Paul wrote,

"I was taught it (the gospel) by the revelation of Christ". (Galatians1:12)

Paul did not learn the gospel in a classroom. Truth is revealed as Jesus is revealed. He is the truth. There is no such thing as truth apart from Him. He is the way the truth and the life. In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. To see Him is to understand, to suddenly and mysteriously comprehend. And the transformation resulting from such an encounter is not the fruit of our intellects or will power, but the subtle influence of the Spirit, forming in us that which we have seen.

God's way of preparing messengers to declare Christ is to first reveal Christ in them, that as they go forth they share more than just a message about Christ, they share the very essence of Him. Hence they are "a life-giving perfume". (See 2Corinthians 2:15 NLT)

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"But when it was the good pleasure of God, who separated me, even from my mother's womb, and called me through his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the Gentiles; straightway I conferred not with flesh and blood…" (Gal1:15-16)

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Aimee Semple McPherson put it this way,

"You had better take time to pray until Jesus is glorified in your eyes; then you will be able to make Him glorious to others."

I believe that meeting in homes is conducive to the recovery of both individual and corporate intimacy with Christ. However, in God's economy, there is no "House-Church" or "Primitive Church Phenomena", but a recovery of the visibility of Christ, a restoration of the passion which animated the primitive church. It was more than the novelty of meeting in homes that excited the first century believer.

It is clear that much of what today is preached as the gospel is, in fact, "another gospel", presenting a distorted picture of Christ. It stands to reason, that if we are to live lives " worthy of the gospel of Christ" (Philippians 1:27) we must first hear the true gospel. I am convinced that the low moral climate among Christians today, is directly related to this.

To the Galatian believers, who were in the process of trading the glorious reality of Christ for what was purely typical and ceremonial, Paul wrote these words.

"For you used to see the meaning of Jesus Christ's death as clearly as though I had shown you a signboard with a picture of Christ dying on the cross." (Galatians 3:1 NLT)

Herein is the dilemma. In man's lust to embrace the rudimentary principles of the world/systematized religion, there is great loss. The first thing to go is vision. "You used to see..." And Jesus, the one set forth, the object of that seeing, is forgotten. The church is built upon the revelation of Christ. It is nourished through seeing Him. There can be no change without a Spirit-wrought vision of Him. For it is through beholding Him that we are "changed into the same image from glory to glory." We shall be like Him for, (because), we shall see Him as He is. If Jesus is "clearly" portrayed, men will be drawn to Him. Satan knows this. And so his master plan is to mar the picture of Jesus, to hide Him from view, by setting forth examples/men who portray, by their savagery and lust for power, a christ devoid of love - "another Jesus." (See 2Corinthians 11:4)

This brings me to what I feel is our Father's pressing burden. He is desirous to set His Son on display - through those who see Him, that they might set forth an accurate "picture of Christ", as if on a "signboard." I contend that the world is not Christ-less for lack of hearing about Jesus, but for lack of seeing Him and that the ecclesia, like blind Bartimaeus of Jericho, can never be truly restored without the recovery of sight.

I leave you with these words of St. Francis of Assisi,

"Preach the gospel everyday; if necessary, use words."





© Copyright 2003 In Search Of A City
 
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Had Satan understood God's redemptive plan, he would have done everything within his power to ensure that Christ died of old age. However he did become familiar with it, post facto, as those Christ-crazed Christians, turned his world up side down
.

I love that!

The primary thrust of Satan's attack is to veil or hide Christ. He does this by any means he can, but primarily through the adulteration of the gospel - "another gospel"
Amen!

2Co 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
 
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