Face to Face

Bridgman, Frederick Arthur- Pict 10One of the hardest things to get many to understand is that the present existence is the kingdom of God.  That a deep and intimate relationship with God can be achieved NOW.  That it is not something that is put off to some future state of perfection.

Many yearn for this deeper life with God but put off all attempts to achieve it because of a false notion that such a relationship only comes after the resurrection and/or the Millennial kingdom.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. 1 Cor 13:12a

One overlooked fact is that this verse is in a passage that is not a resurrection passage.  It is in The Love chapter.  A passage is about our relationships with God and man.  It is about the need to understand God’s plans and purposes.  Face to face is a Hebraism that unfortunately in English sounds like a visual physical presence.  Some have assumed that this is a spiritual body in a future state and that they will SEE God.  But this is impossible.

No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known. John 1:18

No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 1John 4:12

Face to face means to understand as the next verse makes clear.

Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.  1 Cor 13:12

Here is the whole paragraph.

8   Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.  9 For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect;  10 but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.  11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.  12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.  13 So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1Cor. 13:8-13

When we give up childish ways of thinking and we pick up our own Bibles and read the words of love that our Beloved left us without false suitors telling us what is there, then the authentic relationship with God can begin to be built.  This renewal is not something off in the future.  It is achievable in this present world.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day. 2Cor. 4:16 

and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, Eph. 4:23

and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Col. 3:10

Make sure that what some spiritual leader teach is actually supported by the Text.  There are plenty of verses about spiritual bodies but these are not them.

All these verses are about our walk with God NOW.  They are about building that authentic relationship with God that we all seek NOW.   To build any relationship one must listen.  Listening to God is simple, READ THE BIBLE.

The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing Zeph. 3:17

P.S. Strictly speaking God does not have “plans and purposes” as that implies that He perceives time as we do, with a past, present and future.  Without getting too metaphysical this terminology is used to give our simple finite minds some way of understanding His ways within the limits of the language we know.

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