Seeing Face to Face

2017-06-25_Spurgeon quote

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 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. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.(1 Corinthians 13:8-13 ESV)

When we see face to face what will be more clear? Charles Spurgeon[1] offers a number of areas in which our knowledge and understanding will be dramatically enhanced when we see Christ face to face. First, when the perfect comes and we see Christ face to face we will have a more accurate view of ourselves. As we grow in the Christian life we see more and more of ourselves:

nothing very pleasing, I grant you—but something very profitable, for it is a great thing for us to know our emptiness. . . . But in heaven, I doubt not, we shall find out that we never saw even ourselves in the clearest light, but only as “through a glass, darkly,” only as an unriddled thing, as a deep enigma; for we shall understand more about ourselves in heaven than we do now. [2

Secondly, when the perfect comes and we see Christ face to face, we will see and know the providence of God far more than we do today. In eternity we will better understand God’s dealings with mankind on a much larger scale. We will discover the wars that devastated nations, the diseases that filled the grave, the earthquakes that made cities tremble. We’ll better understand how all these cogs fit into the great divine machinery. We’ll see him who sits upon the throne and we’ll realize that all his decisions were right – but not yet.

Third, when the perfect comes and we see Christ face to face, the truths of scripture that we have all wrestled within ourselves and with others will be more thoroughly revealed. The mysteries of the faith, while it may still take us many years, will become more and more clear – but not yet in this darkened and foggy mirror.

Finally, when the perfect comes and we see Christ face to face, we will see God and come to a more thorough understanding of His character. Of course our finiteness will always prohibit us from ever fully exhausting and understanding the infinite, but we’ll know more fully than we do now.

dear friends, the atmosphere of heaven is so much clearer than this, that I do not wonder we can see better there. Here there is the smoke of daily care; the constant dust of toil; the mist of trouble perpetually rising. We cannot be expected to see much in such a smoky atmosphere as this; but when we shall pass beyond, we shall find no clouds ever gather round the sun to hide his everlasting brightness.[3]


[1] C. H. Spurgeon, “Now, and Then,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 17 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1871), 411-418.

[2] C. H. Spurgeon, “Now, and Then,” 412.

[3] C. H. Spurgeon, “Now, and Then,” 418.

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