Such is the sanctity of His form, that whoever gazed upon His face would be unable to commit a sin thereafter.
- In Tenga Bithnua, Irish, 9th century
Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
- 1 John 3.2, 3
This is the great motivating hope of the Christian: One day we will see Jesus face to face. The effect of that will be to transform us finally and forever into His image and likeness. We will remain ourselves, of course, but Jesus will radiate Himself completely through our own unique being and personality.
For now, we squint and strain in silent meditation to gain even a glimpse of our glorious Savior, as He is described to us in various places in the Word. And even though these descriptions are clear, we capture only the barest image of His radiance, majesty, and splendor. Still, we hope even now to glimpse the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, that we might be daily and increasingly transformed (2 Cor. 4.6; 3.12-18).
For even those fleeting glimpses move us to become more like Him. The glory which is to come, and on which we set our minds here and now (Col. 3.1-3), motivates us to purify ourselves, so that our lives might refract a measure of that glory into our daily experience.
Then we will be made completely like Him, in His image, but according to the form of our own glorified flesh and personality. We will be like Him and will live with Him in a community of untold multitudes who, even in all their combined glory and personalities, will not exhaust the infinite beauty and wonder of the Lord Jesus.
Now we work out our salvation as the Spirit enables us, so that we may increasingly be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ, to refract His glory to the world (Phil. 2.12, 13; 1 Cor. 10.31).
That’s the idea, at any rate.
But is this true of us? Do we see Jesus now in His purity, and are we purifying ourselves as He is pure? Do we search the Scriptures to find Him there, revealing Himself in His glory and transforming us into His image? Do we linger in meditation, summoning those various images of Jesus exalted into one glorious collage of unseen splendor? Are we daily revived and strengthened by beholding the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, so that we despise sin and long to be more like Him? Are we devoted, day by day, to bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God (2 Cor. 7.1)?
Or are we as a body of believers merely coasting along, secure in what we expect will be our eternal destiny, but unwilling to take up the life of discipline, strive against sin, labor for the Kingdom, or bear witness to the lost?
For many Christians, their experience as followers of Jesus is nothing remarkable. We know that because they seldom spend time meditating on Him. They rarely talk about Him. They don’t seem eager to seek Him in His Word. They are not improving their Kingdom-and-glory calling as citizens and ambassadors of the realm where all things are being made new. And they aren’t being transformed into His image in any discernible ways.
Does this describe you?
We will be unlikely to know the glory of Jesus then if we are unwilling to seek and behold it now. All true followers of Jesus Christ stand, Paul explained, in the hope of glory (Rom. 5.1, 2). We strain toward the far horizon of coming eternity, and take our bearings in life from the faint glow of the vision of Jesus and the City to Come. We look up, and around, and within, and deeply into the Word of God, to see the glory in the face of Jesus Christ, the glory which is our only true and lasting hope.
The challenge to us every day is to make better use of our time for becoming more like Jesus (Eph. 5.15-17). Let us examine ourselves, our motives, and the activities which define our lives. If we stand in the hope of glory, then let us labor to gaze upon that glory, as it beckons us forward from the eternal City, and as it beams out toward us and down upon us in the face of our King Jesus.
Let glory then and glory now be the hope and guiding light of your journey, and every step of that journey will be filled with rejoicing and peace.
1. Do you regularly set aside time to meditate on the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ? Should you?
2. How can believers encourage one another in this important discipline?
Psalm 90.12-15, 16, 17 (Landas: My Faith Has Found a Resting Place)
Lord, teach us all our days to note that wisdom may be ours.
Return, O Lord, have pity on those servants who are Yours.
Each morning let Your love appear that we for joy may sing.
And make us glad for every day You us affliction bring.
Now let Your work to us appear; our children show Your might.
And let Your favor rest on us; show mercy in Your sight.
The work that You have given us, confirm, and to us show,
that we Your chosen path may walk and in Your precepts go.
Lord, move me to seek You more earnestly day by day! Let me see Your glory so that I…
To help you in pressing on
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T. M. Moore, Principal
All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.