Can We See God’s Face?
Throughout the Old Testament we are told about God’s holiness. When Moses asked to see God’s glory, he was only allowed to see God’s back as it went past and that was enough to overwhelm him. In fact God told Moses that nobody was allowed to see His face (Exodus 33:18-23). This is pretty straightforward, we cannot see God’s face.
Can We See God’s Face Now We Have Jesus?
Is this only Old Testament living? Has this changed in the New Testament? When Jesus said He was going back to the Father, Philip asked Jesus to show them the Father. Jesus’ reply was that whoever has seen Me has seen the Father (John 14:8-9). Many take this to mean that the Father is still not approachable. Don’t get me wrong, we are still better off being able to at least see Jesus, but God seems to be still off limits.
When Peter realizes Jesus is God, he falls down before Him (Luke 5:8). When John saw Jesus in heaven, he fell to the ground as dead (Revelation 1:12-17). We can take this as more evidence that when we get before God, we need to quickly fall and humble ourselves, lest we die.
However in both of these incidences, they were quickly told to not be afraid. They didn’t die. Sure you can say those incidences were encounters with Jesus, but is the Father any different?
As Christians We are to Seek God’s Face
Jesus’ reprimand to Philip we mentioned earlier was preceded with the statement that from now on we will know the Father and will see Him (John 14:7). Jesus statement about ‘if we have seen Him we will have seen the Father’ is not an indication that we should not seek God’s face, but a correction to Philip who thought that he hadn’t seen the Father yet.
Jesus best describes the Father in the parable of the Prodigal Son. When this son returns from his hedonistic lifestyle, we don’t see a holy father hiding his face. Instead we see the father running to the son before there was even a confession and giving him hugs and kisses (Luke 15:20). I don’t think the Father wants to hide His face if He is trying to kiss you.
Jesus Removed the Barriers to Seeing the Face of God
The division between God and man was a result of sin. I know that we still struggle with sin at times, but the division has been removed (Colossians 1:21-22). Yes, sin once hid God’s face from you (Isaiah 59:2), but Jesus brought you back to God once and for all (1 Peter 3:18).
We can approach the throne of God boldly (Hebrews 4:16). We don’t have to avoid eye contact with God. He wants us to see Him, to see His loving eyes looking at His beloved children.
What do we still need forgiveness of when we have been hidden in Christ? Is there still separation between us and God? Does His holiness still require Him to hide His face from us? “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
There is nothing hindering us from God except our unrenewed mind. Let’s change our thinking about God to get at what He is wanting to give to us… an intimate relationship with the Father. Not only can we see God’s face, but He has always wanted us to seek it (1 Chronicles 16:11).