Pastor Chuck delivered a sermon recently about the Holy Spirit. He is God within us, sent by the Father to be our counselor and helper after Jesus was taken into Heaven (John 14:16-17). He is the guarantee of our inheritance, or the down payment on what has been promised to us (Eph. 1:13-14). He is Christ who has come into you (John 14:18, 20, 23), inside every believer (2 Cor 13:5). His very purpose in coming now is future-oriented (Rom 8:18-23). He is here to assure us of what is to come (John 16:13).
I hope you know this already: God is the gospel. The gospel is not a privilege, not a place, not a package. Our salvation is not just a get-out-of-jail-free card. We do need to be saved from bondage to sin, redeemed out of God’s righteous judgment on our rebel race, and spared the horror of eternal separation from the Almighty. Instead of all these well-deserved calamities, though, we get more than just a place of safety, some happy cloud to play our harps on after we die. The adopted children of get God Himself!
How do we get God? By grace. By His simple but incomprehensible choice, God makes us believers in His gospel, and “seals” us by the Holy Spirit, Who has come to be with us, deep within us. What more could we ask? What more can be hoped for? Having God within us, what more can we hope to receive as our “inheritance?”
For all our days on this fallen planet, spinning on its axis in this fallen universe, beset with pain and suffering and loss, we are blessed to know God in an incredibly intimate way, but we cry out for a deeper intimacy. Like Moses, the man of God who enjoyed one of Scripture’s most conversational and intimate relationships with God, we crave one thing above all else. Moses asked God, “Show me your glory!” And God said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live” (Exodus 33:18-20).
In this exchange, we see a couple of things. God desires to show us his glory, but cannot show us too much in our fallen state. Still, God is gracious to accommodate us in our weakness and show us the little bit of His glory that we can handle. Finally, we see that the glory of God is the face of God. Moses says show me your glory, and God says Moses cannot see his face. The face of God is the glory of God.
“While we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. […] we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord“ (2 Cor 5:6-8). The down payment of the Holy Spirit, through which God has come so close as to somehow let all of God take up residence in each one of us, is the guarantee of the wonderful and new revelation of God that is to come. He comforts us, seals us, and makes us know we are adopted children of God, which is unspeakable joy for every believer. But we are in at least one sense “away from the Lord” – we walk by faith, but long to “be at home with the Lord.” Then at last we will walk by sight! We crave the full and immediate presence of the God of all glory. And as present as the Holy Spirit is, we will feel separation until we are fully with the Lord.
But one day this will change – one sweet day, we will see His face!
Let’s look at Revelation, the word God gave the apostle John in his later years to encourage the church in a time of dark tribulation. Consider the following references to seeing God’s face.
Revelation 1:16 – In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
Revelation 6:15-17 – [Everyone] hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”
Revelation 22:3b-4 – [The Lord’s] servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.