78. To continue, the Lord is present with us and united to us through the Word because the Lord is the Word and is virtually talking with us in it. There is also the fact that the Lord is divine truth itself, and that is what the Word is.
We can see from this that the extent to which we understand the Word determines the extent to which the Lord is present with us and at the same time united to us. This is because our understanding of the Word determines the truth we possess, as well as the faith that arises from that truth. Similarly, our understanding of the Word determines the love we have, as well as the way in which we live, which arises from that love. The Lord is present with us when we read the Word; but he is united to us only when we understand what is true from the Word and only in proportion to that understanding; and to the extent that the Lord is united to us the church is within us.
And the church is indeed something within us. The church that is outside us is the church of the many who have the church within them. This is the meaning of what the Lord said to the Pharisees when they asked him when the kingdom of God was coming-“The kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). Here the kingdom of God means the Lord, and the church from him.