CHRIST MUST PUT OFF HIS FLESH
If you asked me whether I would like to see Christ walking today in the flesh in the manner that the twelve disciples knew, I would tell you a strong no. This would be absolutely useless to me! If Jesus of Nazareth were here today, He would be isolated. He could not come into me. Neither could I get into Him. He would still be with His flesh. His flesh could not be part of mine, nor my flesh part of His. Hence, there was a crucial need! Christ had to put off His flesh.
Christ put off His flesh by death! Please remember that the death of Christ was not merely for our sins and old man. It was also a putting off of His own flesh. Henceforth, He is no longer in the flesh. By death He has put off His flesh and is now in the Spirit. I am not saying that the resurrected Christ does not have a body. I am saying that Christ has become the Spirit in resurrection. He still possesses a spirit, soul, and body, but everything is spiritual.
IN THE SPIRIT
What is the difference between being in the flesh and being in the spirit? To be in the flesh is like putting on a garment. When Christ was on earth, He had the garment of flesh on Him. At His death He put off this garment, and in resurrection He took on a new body with a different garment—the Spirit. The present Christ has been clothed with the Spirit in exactly the same sense as when He was clothed with the human flesh.
Hence, we can know Christ in one of two ways. We can know Christ in the flesh, or we can know Him in the Spirit. Some treasure the Christ in the flesh. But more precious than that is the Christ in the Spirit. Christ in the Spirit can now come into us and allow us to be in Him. Now He and we can have an insoluble union.
The Bible shows us time and again that God is triune. At one time God put on the flesh to become Christ. Now He has put on the Spirit. God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit are all one entity. The Christ who was clothed with the flesh was limited in many respects. The Christ who is clothed with the Spirit is omnipresent. He can reside even in you. Everyone who desires Him may obtain Him, and everyone who believes in Him may receive Him. He is no longer confined by time and space. We can be one with Him wherever we are and whenever we will.
If Christ is not living in the Holy Spirit, our faith is dead and Christianity is a dead religion. If Christ is not in the Spirit, our beliefs are mere teachings and theories, and we possess nothing in reality because nothing can come into us from the Christ in the flesh.
(The Normal Christian Faith, Chapter 11, by Watchman Nee)