Can we actually see God?

Some people have amazing faces. Like the face of the little girl with huge, haunting eyes that stared at me from a photo in a store window I was passing. So many emotions in so young a face – innocent and wistful, but that tragic hint of sadness, loss and hardship, too. How a face tells a story.

Some faces I can’t help myself staring at. Like the TV reporter I see occasionally who has a rather plain face when serious, but when she smiles it’s like a sudden window into this other life she lives, full of humour and mischief. How our faces give away what we’re really like.

There’s nothing like the human face in all creation. But there’s one face above all faces I’d like to see, because in that face, the Bible tells me, I can see what God is really like. It acts like a window, 2 Corinthians 4:6, into the “glory of God.” We can actually see the brilliance of God himself. How? “In the face of Christ.”

But how can I see Christ’s face when we have no record of it? And what would it tell me even if I did see it? But Paul explains himself in verse 4. “The god of this age,” he writes, “has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

The way we see Christ’s face is in “the light of the gospel.” To understand the gospel, therefore, is to see the “glory of Christ.” And why is that important? Because Christ is the “image of God.” See Christ in his glory and we see God in his glory. And how do we see Christ in his glory? In the gospel. It’s in the gospel that we see what Christ is like, and in seeing what Christ is like we see what God is like. It’s a simple formula: understand the gospel, we see Christ; see Christ, we see God.

No wonder the “god of this age” blinds people to what the gospel is all about, because it’s through the gospel we see God. The gospel is the face, or the window, into what God is really like. And who understands that? We do, or at least we can, verse 6, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”

So, yes, we can actually see God. How? In Christ. How in Christ? Through the gospel. How important is it to know the gospel, then?

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