Letters to the Family of God

by Joe Franzone | May 5, 2022 | Pastor's Blog

Family of God - Website (600 × 282 px)
5.5

May 5, 2022

 

Longer than there’ve been fishes in the ocean

Higher than any bird ever flew

Longer than there've been stars up in the heavens

I've been in love with you.

 

Longer – by Dan Fogelberg

 

 

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. All who have this hope in Him purify themselves, just as He is pure.

 

1 John 3:2-3

Dear friends,

 

In heaven, the Christian will see Jesus face-to-face as a person sees their friend. John Owen (1616-1683) gave this face-to-face meeting a beautiful name—the beatific vision (blessed vision). More precisely, the beatific vision is the moment we will visibly see Jesus in His glorified humanity.

 

In this age, we do not see Jesus physically. In the age to come, we will.

 

In this age, we live by faith (2 Cor.5:7). In the age to come, we live by sight (1 John 3:2).

 

In this age, we have immediate access to Jesus in the Scriptures, in worship, and in our prayers. Our union with Christ is real. Our understanding of Him growing.

 

In the age to come, we will physically see Him, and the impact of seeing Christ in heaven will be immediate. Because of our new bodies, there will be nothing impeding our ability to see Him as He is. There will be no wavering but only marveling. We will see Christ with pristine wide-eyed focus. His will, His glory, His goodness, His love, His magnificence will all appear before us for the first time. Nothing about Him will escape us or be delayed in our understanding as it can be in this age. In the age to come, we shall see Him as He is.

 

There are people we are privileged to see every day. With most, there is genuine excitement and a sense of well-being that comes to us in seeing them face-to-face. As a father of adult children, I miss seeing my children always. I thank God for Facetime and Zoom. I thank Him more when we can face-to-face see them in person.

 

If you have enjoyed these mercies, think of the first time you laid eyes on the man or woman you fell in love with and later married. Think of the first time you laid eyes on your newborn children. They were not a means to an end. Whatever benefits you enjoy, the greater is that they are with you. There is beauty, warmth, feelings of deep satisfaction, and even wholeness. You see them as they are.

 

The Jesus in the commercialized version of Christianity breeds no such affection. It breeds customers who only say to Christ, give me, give me, give me. He is a product being marketed and not a Savior being longed for. The beauty and glory of the beatific vision of Christ are not on their radar. When He doesn’t come through, as they promised he would, they are thrown off.

 

But a person with an honest, confessional love for Christ cannot ever be continuously hard, greedy, and brutish. You can have bad days, days that just crumble at your feet, crooked, but in your love for Christ, more importantly, in His love for you, nothing will throw you off too much.

 

Consider this; in December 2016, JI Packer wrote, over Christmas macular degeneration struck so that I can no longer read or write. (Macular degeneration is an incurable eye disease that causes the loss of vision.) He could no longer do what he loved for over six decades. Being asked how he was doing considering this, he said, you get old, and getting old means the loss of faculties and powers you had when you were younger. And that is the way God prepares us to leave this world for a better world to which He is taking us. In that world, we will see Him as He is. I’ll be okay.

 

Year by year we steadily march forward to that Day. It’s coming. Don’t lose heart.

 

 

God bless you with all you need and more besides.

Pastor Joe