Every Christian heart cries, “Give me more of Christ.” We long to see Him. David said, “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord” (Psalm 27:4). When Peter sees the glory of the Lord on the Mount of Transfiguration, he believes he has arrived. There is nothing left on his “bucket list”; he is ready to camp out and stay for all eternity.
The saints long to see the glory of Christ. And the greater the longing, the more mature the saint. He knows that there is nothing better. This explains why Christ Himself desires that His people see His glory. No greater gift can He extend, so He prays in John 17, “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” (John 17:24).
In heaven, we will enjoy a real personal view of Him. This is the promise hid in 2 Corinthians 5:7, when Paul says, “for we walk by faith, not by sight.” There will be a day that we see Him (1 John 3:2). Today, the eyes of our hearts have been enlightened (Ephesians 1:18). What we now grab a hold of by faith, Christ Jesus, our eyes shall even more so grab a hold of in the future. And it is worth longing for.
Why? Because it is far better. Our seeing then by sight and our seeing now by faith differ in a myriad of ways. I want to reflect upon three in this post.
Scope: Currently, we only see Christ partially, but then we shall enjoy a full view. In 1 Corinthians the Apostle Paul says, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).
In our current state, we are like elementary school children, who–sheltered by their parents–are now enjoying a taste of table sugar for the first time. The sweetest thing they savored before was an apple. This new goodness fills them with delight, but it is nothing compared to the world that awaits them. Out there is a universe laden with the sugary goodness of chocolate bars, cakes, pies, cinnamon rolls, syrup, and Lucky Charms. Now, we relish but a spoonful of delight in the glory of God compared to the truck full we will appreciate then. Thomas Goodwin said, “one saint in heaven hath more glory and joy in his heart than all the joy that is on earth.” And yet how dazzling is the part we do now see. This realization leads the Apostle Paul to say in 1 Corinthians, “No eye has seen, nor hear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him!”
This is what makes Heaven Heaven for the believer: Christ! A wonderful end awaits us–a full view of Christ. Will it be good to see loved ones? Yes. Will we know them? I think, “Yes.” Will we be thankful to no longer suffer disease and sickness? Yes. But every true saint knows, especially those in the church triumphant, the great gift of heaven is Christ Himself. As Richard Sibbes said, “He is the very heaven of heavens.” It would not be heaven without Him. As one old saint said, “If I were cast into any hole if I could have but a cranny to see Christ always, it would be heaven enough.”
Directness: Our sight then will consist of a directness that escapes our seeing now by faith. Our view of Christ, though pleasant now, is a mediated view. There we will revel in an immediate view of the glory of God in the person of Christ. What we now experience and know of the glory of God, we ascertain through the Word. But then, our knowledge shall be informed face to face. We will gaze upon Him directly, immediately–all of Him. He shall ever dwell before us. There shall no longer be an image, in a mirror, but we shall as John Owen said, “As a man sees his neighbor when they stand and converse together face to face.”
Constancy: Our view then will remain uninterrupted. Unfortunately, our current view of Christ by faith is too often disrupted by sinful barriers. There, we shall look upon Him unfettered. Sin will not (and cannot!) disrupt it. We will not wander. We will not seek anything improper. We will not be weak in our fervency. We will not divert, wander, or seek self. There will be no distraction within and no diversion from without. Our attitude will remain steady. Our joy will be complete. Our faith shall be sight. We will be like Him (1 John 3:2) and so delight in Him beyond anything imaginable in this life. We will eternally exist as the Angels in Revelation, who surround the throne of God, singing day and night, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come” (Rev. 4:8). This happy, holy, delight in the person of God. This unwavering worship and satisfaction shall be true of us forever and ever. We shall enjoy a perfect satisfaction and yet without satiety; satisfied and yet always happily seeking and delighting more and more in Him for all of eternity.
As Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 4:17: “We will always be with the Lord.” What a day awaits us! Cry forth dear saint, “Give me more of Christ.” Let it increase in this life and finally be realized in the life to come.
This article is posted here with permission from the author.
Jason is an ordained pastor in the PCA. He is an Assistant Pastor at University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan. Jason is a regular blogger on the Gospel Coalition and Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals websites. He is also the author of A Neglected Grace: Family Worship in the Christian Home. He is married to Leah and they are blessed with two wonderful children, Gracen and Ethan. When he isn’t pastoring or writing, Jason enjoys spending time with his family, laughing, watching a good Chicago Bears’ game (as rare as they are), and feasting upon Chicago-style pizza. He is also a man marked by great faith and hope as he awaits the realization of a Cubs’ World Series championship within his lifetime.