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The Christian's Desire To See God Face To Face by Richard Sibbes

The Christian's Desire To See God Face To Face
Joseph J. Adrian

Many books can be read once and that is sufficient considering the value of the book. C. Matthew McMahon, in his introduction to this work, recommends that it ". . . should not be read once, it is one to study, reread and continue to soak in." I wholeheartedly agree with him and, in fact I have been doing just that. What we desire especially, this our chief desire reveals much about us. Sibbes in looking at Psalm 27:4 expounds the Psalmist's great desire "To live in the Church of God, to enjoy the ordinances of God . . ." to this end, "I shall have nearer communion with God here . . ." The closer we draw near to our Lord in this life, the more we get a taste of "Heaven On Earth." Do you desire to give God your whole heart? David certainly reveals that about himself in this Psalm. David desired it because he knew that it is something God desires from "The Israel Of God." He is a jealous God. He will not have us serve Him and Mammon——Matthew 6:24. He will not allow us to have a divided heart.

What a glorious Gospel is given to us by our merciful God and Creator! "What a glorious thing it is, by the ordinance of God, a weak man shall have power against the strong devil, against all the 'Gates Of Hell' Matthew 16:18." In our own strength we are helpless, weak, and frail, but in the strength of God we are "More than conquerors through Him that loved us and gave Himself for us."

Those heavenly and spiritual things have an excellence to them (faith enables a spiritual man to recognize this)-—"Grace confines the soul to one thing." The natural man——devoid of grace and faith——is restless and seeks happiness, peace, and contentment in many things that cannot provide what they truly need. "Man, after his fall, sought out many inventions (Ecclesiastes 7:29) says the wise man."

The eminent Puritan Pastor, a great lover of the souls of men, asks this question, "Ask a Christian what is the best evidence of salvation, and that you belong to God?" The desire for and response to "The Word of the Living God"—-"My sheep hear my voice" John 10:4.

Our souls have been made by God for glorious and excellent things. Sibbes asks this rhetorical question, "What are our souls more for than to dwell in the meditation of the beauty of God?" What is the purpose of the ministry of the Word? It is to lay bare the truths of God's Word to His people, the end being . . . to win the people's love to Christ."

Something that God does when He calls someone out of darkness into His marvelous light is that He gives them understanding of His purposes, His will. "What a wondrous love of God was it to call us, and by this have the eternal purpose of God opened to us."

Where do we see the love of Christ for His Church at, perhaps, its greatest expression? "Christ was never more lovely to His Church than when He was most deformed for His Church . . . when He hung on the cross." It was a spectacle of horror to the watching world but Christ giving Himself for those He loved has beauty in it that words cannot adequately convey.

Richard Sibbes was an early influential English Puritan——a Pastor of Pastors. All of his writings are of great value and this is among his most significant works. May our Lord be pleased to give this work a wide hearing for the benefit of His needy children.