Seeing Him - Already... Not Yet!

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Verse 1 gives us the already.... BEHOLD : access to the presence of God now by faith. Right now, it’s possible to behold God, by faith. To see His presence. By faith it is possible for the reality of God to become more than intellectual; to overflow your intellect into all the rest of you (mind, will, emotions etc.).
Verse 2 gives us the not yet.... SEEING HIM AS HE IS: out of this experience of beholding God by faith comes an even greater thing. A future thing, far greater than what we even have now. Now we are children of God, but we’re going to be something even more. What we know is, when He appears we’ll be like Him for we’ll see Him as He is.

ALREADY - Children of God

Notice three things:
A. Nationality / Standing
Now we are! Common response of Christians to the qu. “Are you a Christian” is “I’m trying to be!”. But that response shows a lack of understanding of the nature of it. It’s a standing – a legal position. We’re not trying / hoping to be. We are children of God.
You don’t get away from the Father’s heart. You don’t lose your status if you have a bad week. Beloved, we are children of God!
B. Received
Lavished on us. Bestowed upon us. You have to receive this, it’s not automatic.
But doesn’t God love all people, and aren’t all people God’s children? Well, in one sense, God is the Father of all things in that He created them. And He has a love for all of His creation. But that devalues what God is talking about here.
Being a child of God is far more than that. This is the deep relationship of a Father and a child and it has to be received.
John 1:12–13 NIV
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
C. Citizenship / Rights
Rights… we love rights don’t we? The most common type of British nationality, according to the Home Office, is British citizenship. And that’s all about rights: the right to live, the right to work etc.
No doubt the concepts are closely linked, but I like to distinguish between nationality and citizenship. I see nationality as having to do with status and belonging: it’s all about relationship (and usually that’s a relationship by birth).
Citizenship on the other hand is all about our rights, privileges and duties as citizens or inhabitants of a place: as such, citizenship is more to do with our allegiance – where do we look to for our protection and support?
Cancelled debts – in NT days when an adult was adopted, at moment of adoption that adults debts are wiped out/transferred to the father
Access – right to come to the parent and ask, no matter how big or small the demand nor what time of the day or night. The child has the right of access.
Love - John 17:23: so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Adoption is about loving a child as if it were yours naturally. Where earthly fathers fail, our heavenly Father succeeds. One of our rights as children of God, is to be loved with the same love which God has for His unique Son. That has to be true – that’s one of the rights of children. How does God love His natural Son?! We can hardly even imagine. Yet God loves you, if you’re His child, like that now. God could not love you more.
Are we living, by faith, in the reality of that statement now?
As it has to with our fundamental allegiances, citizenship is far more outward facing. You might not know a person’s nation of birth simply by observing them (though there are clues) but you may learn far more about their citizenship. I guess the very fact that people are commended for good citizenship tells you that this is also a behavioural thing. Scripture view citizenship as an outward facing thing too – it’s viewed as a conversation! Not of our mouths, but of our whole being. Where are my allegiances? To whom do I look to enforce my rights? It will be obvious from my actions!
Phil 1:27 : Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ [conduct yourselves in a manner = behave as citizens]
Phil 3:20-21 : But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
Where do I look to when things start to go wrong in my relationships? Where do I turn when I’m unfairly treated in my work? Who’s the first person I call on when there’s a set back in relation to my health? If we answer these questions honestly, it’ll tell us where the allegiances of are heart are and where the conversation of our life, our citizenship is being played out!
Friends, we need to remind ourselves that our debt has been cancelled in heaven, that our access to the eternal Father (the Almighty Possessor of eternity) is in heaven. In heaven, sits the One who loves us with the same love He has for His Son who created all things and laid down His life to save us.
Praise His name that we’ve received it! This isn’t the love God has for His creation. This isn’t automatic. Don’t you see that this is infinitely more precious than that. It has to be bestowed upon you. You received it when you received God’s Son.
And once received, it cannot be lost. You don’t lose your status as a child of God if you have a bad week. Beloved, if we’ve received Christ, we are children of God and God loves us NOW with the love He has for His beloved well-pleasing Son.
Amazing?! It gets better…

NOT YET - Seeing Him as He is

If you’re a child now, there’s something we KNOW will happen. The climax of our life is to see Him as He is. If we see Him by faith now, then one day we will see Him face to face.
This vision is so astonishing that even to want it starts to make radical changes in you. Look at verse 3. To desire it will start to transform you.
This is the day that nature itself is groaning and yearning for this day. When we see Him face to face and when we experience the complete transformation that will occur BECAUSE we see Him face to face, the glory that will come to us will be so great that it will envelop the whole created order.
The more you see Him as He is, the more you become like Him. On that day, when we see Him truly as He is, we’ll behold His glory and we’ll be glorious like He is.
John 17:24 NIV
“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
Psalm 17:15 NIV
As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.
Total fulfilment! All your desires are in God. Have you ever noticed how many different appetites you have: emotional, intellectual, aesthetic, relational… Earthly objects tend only to satisfy one appetite, and then only partially. But there is an Object that can fulfil all of them at once and fulfil them absolutely and finally. What? The vision of God. Your mind is after it. Your heart is after it. What you’re after in work, in relationships… this is it.
As great as it is what we have now. It’s nothing compared to what we will be on that day.
Look for it!
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