“As a man sees his neighbour face to face, so shall we see the Lord Christ in His glory” by John Owen

“Christ Himself, in His own person, with all His glory, shall be continually with us, before us, proposed unto us.

We shall no longer have an image, a representation of Him, such as is the delineation of His glory in the Gospel.

We “shall see Him,” saith the apostle, “face to face,” (1 Cor. 13:12);—which he opposeth unto our seeing Him darkly as in a glass, which is the utmost that faith can attain to.

“We shall see Him as He is,” 1 John 3:2;– not as now, in an imperfect description of Him.

As a man sees his neighbour when they stand and converse together face to face, so shall we see the Lord Christ in His glory. And not as Moses, who had only a transient sight of some parts of the glory of God, when He caused it to pass by him.

There will be use herein of our bodily eyes, as shall be declared. For, as Job says, in our flesh shall we see our Redeemer, and our eyes shall behold Him, (Job 19:25–27).

That corporeal sense shall not be restored unto us, and that glorified above what we can conceive, but for this great use of the eternal beholding of Christ and His glory.

Unto whom is it not a matter of rejoicing, that with the same eyes wherewith they see the tokens and signs of Him in the sacrament of the supper, they shall behold Himself immediately in His own person?

But principally, as we shall see immediately, this vision is intellectual.

It is not, therefore, the mere human nature of Christ that is the object of it, but His divine person, as that nature subsisteth therein.

What is that perfection which we shall have (for that which is perfect must come and do away that which is in part) in the comprehension of the hypostatical union, I understand not.

But this I know, that in the immediate beholding of the person of Christ, we shall see a glory in it a thousand times above what here we can conceive.

The excellencies of infinite wisdom, love, and power therein, will be continually before us.

And all the glories of the person of Christ which we have before weakly and faintly inquired into, will be in our sight forevermore.

Hence the ground and cause of our blessedness is, that “we shall ever be with the Lord,” (1 Thess. 4:17),—as Himself prays, “that we may be with him where He is, to behold His glory.” (John 17:24)

Here we have some dark views of it;– we cannot perfectly behold it, until we are with Him where He is. Thereon our sight of Him will be direct, intuitive, and constant.

There is a glory, there will be so, subjectively in us in the beholding of this glory of Christ, which is at present incomprehensible. For it doth not yet appear what we ourselves shall be, (1 John 3:2).

Who can declare what a glory it will be in us to behold this glory of Christ?

And how excellent, then, is that glory of Christ itself!

This immediate sight of Christ is that which all the saints of God in this life do breathe and pant after.

Hence are they willing to be dissolved, or “desire to depart, that they may be with Christ,” which is best for them, (Phil. 1:23).

They choose “to be absent from the body, and present with the Lord,” (2 Cor. 5:8); or that they may enjoy the inexpressibly longed-for sight of Christ in His glory.”

–John Owen, “Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ,” The Works of John Owen, Volume 1: The Glory of Christ (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1684/2000), 1: 378-379.

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