The Beatific Vision

Bring on the chocolate cupcakes!

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is auding. This is one I have not seen or heard before. It is a noun, depicting an action, which is also strange. It means, “The action of comprehending and retaining the information in speech that is heard, as opposed to merely hearing it or listening to it.” An example usage: “Both auding and reading comprehension rates for college-level readers are optimal at around 300 wpm.”

Today is Chocolate Cupcake Day. What else do I even need to say about that?

Yesterday took a small toll on us. Christi spent well over two hours with her mother and step-dad, taking them to the bank to try to work out some issues that they are having. I don’t have time to go into details, but it’s pretty convoluted.

After she got home, we had some lunch and watched some TV. We finally got around to going to the grocery store around 4:00 PM. I seriously allowed anger to work into me, though, not at Christi, but at her mother for putting Christi through everything she’s been through over the past years. My tolerance is just about gone. To make matters worse, other people keep entering into the situation, and offer up opinions that nobody else in Christi’s mother’s family cares about her. Of course, they don’t know the history.

I could go on and on about this, but I won’t. Plus I don’t have time, as I said, as we are planning to leave for church at 7:00, this morning.

Our church, The Exchange, is now meeting at the YMCA on North Beach Street, in Fort Worth. Our worship service will begin at 9:15. If you are in the area and awake, you are welcome to visit us. 9100 N. Beach, Fort Worth, TX 76244.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

Another way to speak of meditating on Christ and his attributes is to speak of seeking his face. In Psalm 27:8, David said, You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.” What does this mean? We know, both from experience as well as other Scriptures, that God is everywhere, omnipresent.

Consider when you have a conversation with another person. We don’t normally look at their knees or feet, back or stomach, do we? We typically look at their face, and, even sometimes, make eye contact. “The face is the ‘relational gate’ into a person’s mind and heart.” When we seek God’s face, we are not looking to find the place where he is located. “Rather, it is to have our hearts enabled by the Holy Spirit to sense his reality and presence.” To seek the face of God is to “seek communion with him, a real interaction with God, sharing thoughts and love.”

We know, from reading the Old Testament, that people were forbidden to see God’s face, as they would be consumed by his holiness. However, because of the work of Christ on the cross, we are able to have a nearness to God that was impossible in Old Testament times. “Jesus’ person and work is the breakthrough for any who want to draw near and seek God’s face.”

John Owen gave a lot of attention to 2 Corinthians 3:18. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. He connected this with 2 Corinthians 4:6. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Owen constantly returns to a subject that he calls the “beatific vision.” This describes “the direct sight of the glory of God.” As the redeemed, we will have this fully, literally, by sight, in heaven, but on earth, we can only partially obtain this by faith, not by sight. Owen says that, “our Christian life and thinking should be oriented toward the hope of the beatific vision, and shaped by the foretaste we receive of it here and now.”

Essentially, what Owen is saying is that if we are not captivated by the beauty and glory of Christ, in our imaginations, we will be captivated by something else. We must “find Christ beautiful for who he is in himself.” When we seek his face, we meditate on his “character, words, and work on our behalf,” and become consumed with his inherent beauty. Keller goes on to say, “If we don’t behold the glory of God in the face of Christ, then something else will rule our lives.”

So, if we desire to see the glory of God in heaven, we must be practicing that here, by faith. “If we want freedom from being driven by fear, ambition, greed, lust, addictions, and inner emptiness, we must learn how to meditate on Christ until his glory breaks in upon our souls.”

The choice is ours.

Grace and peace, friends.

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