“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8)
Will we see God’s face? Yes! In heaven we will actually see the Lord face to face. This is impossible in the earthly realm. After all, God said, “No man can see Me and live!” (Ex. 33:20, NASB). John 1:18 and 1 John 4:12 both say, “No one has seen God at any time.” First Timothy 6:16 declares that God “alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see.” Indeed, God is “of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness” (Hab. 1:13). As long as we are tainted by sin, we cannot see God. The view of such perfect righteousness would destroy us.
God is therefore inaccessible to mortal man on a face-to-face basis. This is what made Christ’s incarnation so wonderful: although no man has ever seen God at any time, “the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (John 1:18). Christ “tabernacled among us” (John 1:14)-“and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father.”
In heaven, since we will be free from sin, we will see God’s glory unveiled in its fullness. That will be a more pleasing, spectacular sight than anything we have known or could ever imagine on earth. No mere earthly pleasure can even begin to measure up to the privilege and the ecstasy of an unhindered view of the divine glory.
The Greek verb translated “see” (horao) is in a tense that denotes a future, continuous reality. In heaven we will continually be seeing God. Kings generally seclude themselves from direct contact with their people. It is a rare privilege to have an audience with a king. But believers in heaven will forever have perfect, unbroken fellowship with the King of Kings!
As Christians, our highest satisfaction will come when we see our God and His Son, Jesus Christ, and when we stand before Them in perfect uprightness. Heaven will provide us with that privilege-an undiminished, unwearied sight of His infinite glory and beauty, bringing us infinite and eternal delight. We can begin to understand why Peter, after seeing only a faint glimpse of that glory, wanted to make a camp on the Mount of Transfiguration and stay there permanently! (Matt. 17:4).
Adapted from John F. MacArthur, The Glory of Heaven (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1996).