Face-to-face with God
Associate minister Greg Ball writes about what a privilege it will be to one day see our great God face-to-face.
Not many people can lay claim to having seen God face-to-face on this earth. Moses came close when God appeared to him in a burning bush, but fear gripped him and Moses hid his face. Later, when Moses and the Hebrew people were gathered at Mt Sinai, God allowed Moses to meet with him. We’re told that the LORD would speak to Moses face-to-face, as a man speaks with his friend. (Exodus 33:11) This was an incredibly rare moment in the history of the world and even then, such was the glory of God, his very presence needed to be protected from the people by a pillar of cloud. Even David, the great king of Israel, never had the privilege of seeing God face-to-face on this earth.
The Apostle John records for us in John 1:18: No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known. John is, of course, referring here to Jesus. If you lived in Israel during the first century then it was possible that you would have had the opportunity to see Jesus up close and personal—face-to-face—and many people did. But such is the extent of people’s sin that most did not recognise Jesus as the Son of God, and even those who did, still did not truly understand who he was until he had been raised from the dead. And even then, many still did not believe.
Some time between Abraham and King David (2000–1000 BC), many years before Jesus was born into the world, another man, Job, made an incredible statement about God. I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth, And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19:25–27). I wonder what Job would have said if he had been able to live long enough to see Jesus born into the world.
We have the privilege of living after the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, where the promise of eternal life has been made certain by what Jesus achieved on the cross. And yet, sadly, many people still refuse to acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Saviour, and even believers still fall short of the glory of God. This makes for difficult times in the life of the church. But let us not lose heart, for as the Apostle John writes, ‘If we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us… This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us his Spirit… If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.’ (1 John 4:12–15)
For the believer, the best is yet to come. There will come a day when we will see our Saviour God face-to-face. What an incredible moment that will be. As we go about the business of living out our lives each day, let us keep that promise at the forefront of our minds and may it shape everything we do.