We Shall See Him as He is – By Pastor/Elder Brian Gates
One of the constant refrains we hear at New Life is “look to Christ” or something to that effect. And rightly so. Scripture is clear that we are to set our minds on Jesus, to behold Him in His glory (Colossians 3:2, Hebrews 12:2, 2 Corinthians 3:18).
In his Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ, the great Puritan theologian John Owen said, “That one of the greatest privileges and advancements of believers, both in this world and unto eternity, consists in their beholding the glory of Christ.” What could be a greater privilege than to know and see the God of all creation? Owen begins Meditations with John 17:24 where Jesus prays, “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world” (emphasis mine).
If Jesus desired that we would see His glory, we should understand its importance in the life of the believer. When we become new creations in Christ, our citizenship, our identity is in Heaven (Philippians 3:20), so our orientation should be toward Heavenly things. Owen states that beholding the glory of our Lord is not just for eternity but for this world as well.
“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” 1 Peter 1:13. We are to be fully occupied with thinking and dwelling on the things of Christ revealed in Scripture, preparing for our eternal inheritance. You can’t truly look upon Jesus and consider His majesty and be unaffected.
John Owen later adds that, “No man shall ever behold the glory of Christ by sight hereafter, who doth not in some measure behold it by faith here in this world. Grace is a necessary preparation for glory, and faith for sight. Where… the soul… is not previously seasoned with grace and faith, it is not capable of glory or vision.”
Beholding His glory is sanctifying and transformative, making us more and more like Christ- conforming us to His image. The more we see Him, the greater our affections and faith, as well as our capacity to love and enjoy the Lord. Our desire to be with Him is enlarged. “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” 2 Corinthians 3:18.
At present, we don’t see Him by sight in this world; we see Him with the eyes of faith. One day, however, we will be present with Him. No longer will we see through the glass darkly (1 Corinthians 13:12).
“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” 1 John 3:2 (emphasis mine).
What could be greater to those that love Jesus Christ? Our faith will be made sight, and we shall see Him in all His resplendent majesty- the King of Kings, pure and holy, and adorned with brilliant light. Truly the most beautiful sight we will ever behold. Our hearts will burst with praise for He is Worthy!
Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight!