- Renée Coventry
Holiness & Seeing God, Pt. 17
Yesterday we left off in Hebrews 12:14. To remind you, it states, "Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord." We are told that we are to acquire and seek after earnestly two things in particular: peace and holiness. While 1 Peter tells us that there is no harmony with the world, we cannot stop seeking peace with all individuals. James 3:18 tells us that the "fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace." If we are going to sow the Gospel into people's lives and see them reconciled to the Lord, we have to do so in peace, not provoking or antagonizing. However, that does not mean that we abandon our pursuit of holiness. After all, we want to see God.
Interestingly, the word see in the context of Hebrews 12:14 has a dual meaning. Without holiness, no one will be able to behold God, and that no one will allow themselves to be seen or to appear before God. Not only can an unholy man look upon God, but unholy man will not let a holy God look upon them. Recall that God told Moses, "You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live" (Ex. 33:20). It is in holiness that we can gaze upon the face of our Deliverer, which means sin, in all of its forms, must be eradicated from our lives. God would not have commanded it without providing us a way of accomplishing it. He has given us His Holy Spirit.
God wants us to behold Him. Rev. 22:4 promises that His people will see His face. We already discussed how God hid Moses in a rock and covered him with His hand as He passed by (Ex. 33:22-23). God said of Moses in Numbers 12:8, "I speak with him face to face, even plainly and not in dark sayings; and he sees the form of the LORD." In Hebrew, God says He speaks with Moses "mouth to mouth," with Moses only seeing His form, not His face. We also know that Moses spoke face-to-face with Christ in the transfiguration recorded in Matthew 17:3. So, God desires for us to know Him face to face. He longs to speak with us plainly. God said that He only appeared to His prophets in dreams and visions, but Moses He appeared to personally. While I long for the fulfillment of Joel 2:28, where God's Spirit is poured out on all flesh with the accompanying dreams and visions, I want more. I want to behold God.
So having understood that God wants to show us His face, we need to realize that humankind doesn't want a holy God to gaze upon our sinfulness. We all know family members and friends who are running from God. Why? Because God's holiness exposes. Hell is a horrible place prepared for Satan and demons, but how much more would heaven be for people who refuse to repent and are constantly seared by the presence of a Holy God (Matt. 25:41). I Thessalonians 1:8b-9 tells us that those who fail to obey the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ are punished by everlasting separation from God's presence and His glorious power. God doesn't send a man to hell; we send ourselves there because we reject Him, not allowing His gracious face to gaze upon and heal them.
This is why spiritual sight is so critical today. Satan has blinded minds and hearts to Christ. It is impossible to walk in the holiness necessary to see God without seeing the Gospel's truth. In 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, Paul states, "But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them."
A.W. Tozer said, "We need a baptism of clear seeing. We desperately need seers who can see through the mist – Christian leaders with prophetic vision. Unless they come soon it will be too late for this generation. And if they do come we will no doubt crucify a few of them in the name of our worldly orthodoxy."  Clear sight is related to holiness. Only in the holy is my motive, thought, word, action, and vision purified. Will we allow the Holy Spirit to baptize us with sight, and for those who do allow it, will we crucify them in our desire to live amongst the world or embrace them as people worthy of following. If we want to see God, we must be people who pursue holiness, no matter the cost.
God, I want to behold You in all of Your glory. I want You to speak clearly to me. Forgive me for putting my lifestyle above the beauty of Your presence in my life. Holy Spirit, please baptize me with clarity of sight that I may see what You are doing. Open my eyes to the importance of holiness in every area of my life so I can see You and be an accurate representation of You to those around me by allowing my separation to You bring wholeness to the lives of others, I pray. In Jesus' Name, amen.
 James Strong, Strong's Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2009), s.v. "Num. 12:8." Accessed May 17, 2021, blueletterbible.org.
 AW Tozer, "The Root of the Righteous," Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL, 2015.