—These words may have taken their form from the fact that Nicodemus came by night, and may have been a gentle rebuke, and … Cheerfulness in the face of change. First, he will desire to act worthily of his present princely state; and then, because he knows he is to inherit, at some time or other, his father's sceptre, and because wide dominions and large populations will then be placed under his sway, he will wish to qualify himself for the task and responsibility of ruling, whenever he shall be called upon to ascend the throne. "WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM." Having such dignities and glories as He wears: kings, priests, conquerors, judges, sons of God.IV. How different that sight of Him will be from that which we have here!1. It sets before us the duty of ourselves striving to make these changes. (Matthew 26:64). The transcendent beauty of Christ imparts itself only in natures made tender by the Spirit. When I begin the day, I have not only to keep on in the good habits of yesterday, but I have fresh choices to make. )The beatific visionC. )Life and character in GodA. 1. And the final condition! You must sympathise with a man in order to be able to understand him. but I want to see the Saviour, the Saviour of Calvary, the Saviour of Judea, the very one that died for me. Thirdly, the mean, or condition on our part, whereby we are incorporated into Christ at present, is our faith, but in the life to come faith shall be swallowed up in perfect vision, we shall see God as He is, and the sight of infinite perfection shall set us on fire and make our hearts burn with love as pure and bright as our knowledge; and it being the property of love to clasp the object beloved into the closest union, we shall enjoy all things possible in common with the ever-blessed Trinity. Have you never heard of mothers having recognised their children years after they were lost by the marks and wounds upon their bodies? Regeneration means, not that we are to be developed, but that we are to be changed, to live in other ways, with other motives and for other ends. It points to an end of strife, to rest and peace; but there is something better than that. We have a strong desire to see Him. The soil may dwarf the Divine life and prevent its perfect development; nevertheless, we have that life in germ. The Son creates them at once to new majesty as He once created worlds, for His power is dealing with an entirely obedient material, a material ruled by regenerated wills promptly and absolutely responsive to His sovereignty. Calthrop, M. It is because of this fact that the different parts of our common life at least match themselves into a congruous and harmonious whole. I am sure you will all confess that this strong desire has arisen in your minds concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. Another analogy worthy of our notice is that these transfiguration processes effect themselves upon a new and impressionable life. But if society is capable of such transformations, much more must the individual be capable of them. That was almost the only revelation to which he gave much heed; the effect of it was the only spiritual effect of which he was conscious. We call it then a sapphire. When we see Christ here, we see Him to our profit; when we see Him there, we shall see Him to our perfection. Now are we the sons of God, now are we the germ of what we shall find ourselves in that fair land. It gives a hint, a shadow, of that heavenly citizenship which shall complete all that is well begun here: we shall find it all there. It was the shadow of Christ that had come upon her. New questions come up; life varies its phases; I am myself not quite the same being as yesterday; I see more, feel more; duty is a little broader; time presses upon me a little more heavily; eternity becomes more real. We shall not bow before Him with trembling, but it will be with joy; we shall not shake at His presence, but rejoice with joy unspeakable. John 3:21 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓] John 3:21, NIV: "But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God." To see God, therefore, is to enjoy Him. It is the unborn babe which is responsive to the image presented to the brain of the mother, rather than the mother herself. IV. Ah! Something is already accomplished; an effect is secured. Now we see Christ reflected; but then we shall not see Him in the looking glass; we shall positively see His person. Paul and John take hold of these inscrutable and stupendous transfiguration forces, and trace the effect of their working upon a man's moral life and character here, and upon his person and destiny hereafter. All we can say is that the holy city of the saved world, the new Jerusalem of the perfected humanity, is slowly but steadily coming down from God out of heaven, and will in time appear four-square upon the earth. I can see Thee here through symbols; if the eye of my faith be dim, yet it is sure. ’ “On the other hand, he who does the truth” ’ This is one of John’s comprehensive phrases which perhaps lose by definition. (1)The son is treated as a servant while under age. It is by the law of assimilation that men are bound together into homogeneous communities and nations.3. To the mind of the former of these two apostles, this sonship assumes the appearance of a position of privilege. Those so born can make but a pitiful fight of it here; at their very best they can attain very little, and they are swept so lightly down the dark waters of crime and sorrow. Thus these great hopes that enfold the world are yours and mine; we can take them into the secrecy of our sorrowing hearts, into our disappointed lives, into the vanishing away of our strength and years, and through them claim and find a place in the world of joy and peace.(T. We cannot look with sympathy upon His moral loveliness here, or with worship upon His glorious majesty hereafter, without realising some amazing approximation to His likeness.6. We are His children even now. I bear my Master witness, I never saw Him yet without being profited by Him. Under natural conditions character does not show a tendency to change its type or direction; it simply grows after its type, and sets steadily in its native direction and toward some permanent form. The chrysalis is no longer affected by the colour of its surroundings when it reaches the last stages of its development. And if this is so there is hope. It sets before us the duty of ourselves striving to make these changes. Calthrop, M. A.Both St. Paul and St. John dwell largely upon the "sonship" of believers, but they approach the subject from different points of view. W. Hamilton, LL. It pulls the pliant stuff into its own range, and then refines and exalts it into those living organisms that are the glory of the earth.2. Transfigurations go on in the social realm that are more or less consciously mimetic in their character. It points to an end of strife, to rest and peace; but there is something better than that. Origin in an infinite being is a pledge not only of an infinite life, but of endless development in the direction of the unattainable source. Our minds often revert to Christ as He was, and as such we have desired to see Him. If this earth of ours be all, how can we close our eyes to that nightmare? You do not see the person, you only see him reflected. Have you never heard of mothers having recognised their children years after they were lost by the marks and wounds upon their bodies? PERSONAL IDENTITY. The believer will be as much astonished when he sees Jesus' glories as He sits on His throne as He would have been to have seen Him in His earthly sufferings. It is because of this fact that the different parts of our common life at least match themselves into a congruous and harmonious whole. Now, if men by projecting themselves into moods of abstraction discover new powers of mind, find unknown fires begin to burn within them, and rise into worlds of spiritual ecstasy, what change, think you, ought to effect itself within us if with the same steadfastness we contemplate the personality of Him who is the Leader and Consummator of our faith? But are thy grey hairs full of sin? He can read St. Paul, St. Peter, St. John, etc., and the books of dead ministers, but if they were alive to tell him if this be the Word of God then thou art a damned man, they would not be loved. "Oh, blessed vision!" Thou hast had many years of fighting, and trying, and trouble: if thou ever dost "see Him as He is," that will pay for all. I bear my Master witness, I never saw Him yet without being profited by Him. You see the application. The Son creates them at once to new majesty as He once created worlds, for His power is dealing with an entirely obedient material, a material ruled by regenerated wills promptly and absolutely responsive to His sovereignty. Well, "we shall see Him." And oh! The life in us is an exotic from a celestial clime, "and" hence "it doth not yet appear what we shall be." Spurgeon. I see no reason to doubt this — that great changes are still to go on in us under the transforming power of Christ. It is, indeed, a pleasant thought that if I cultivate a spirit of patience, or sympathy, or self-control, it will become a fixed habit in me. II. Young man, the text says, "We shall see Him as He is." It gives a hint, a shadow, of that heavenly citizenship which shall complete all that is well begun here: we shall find it all there. Good things, from which men thirty years ago hoped so much, have been done only to show how much more remains to be done. Spurgeon. The clay particles, left to follow their own instinct of unity, become a clear, hard substance so set that it can deal with light in a wonderful way, and gather out of it the loveliest blue rays only, refusing the rest. HERE IS TRUE FELLOWSHIP. Here, too, how distantly we see Christ! You have looked down to see the city and the streamlet below; you could just ken yonder steeple and mark that pinnacle; but they were all so swathed in the mist that you could scarcely discern them. The son of her friend had shown her the stairs, and pointed out the door of the room where the body lay, and put a candle in her hands, and left her. I do not want merely to become fixed in these habits, but to grow in them; and I also want to be carried on and lifted up into higher ranges of character than I now know; I cannot be satisfied with any condition that is stationary. But whoever practices the truth comes into the Light, so that it may be seen clearly that what he has done has been accomplished in God.". T. Munger.John, looking back, sees what great spaces have been covered in his spiritual history; he also looks forward, and sees greater changes in store for him. But when we see Him, there it will be joy without sorrow; sin and sorrow itself will have gone; ours will be a pure, unmingled, unadulterated joy. "When Christ," he says, "is manifested," i.e., in His resurrection glory, "we shall see Him as He is." III. To believe in future change is very different from believing in past change. Guard unhurt the germ. The life dawning in that birth mediated through the Spirit is alone susceptible of these sublime modifications and perfectings; and in the heavenly transfiguration there is the same parallel or analogy. You may trust the believer for knowing his Master when he finds Him.III. And I put down my candle, and I said, "Let me see this thing. I must tell the rest in her own words. I see no reason to doubt this — that great changes are still to go on in us under the transforming power of Christ. We shall see Christ again, and see Him as He is; see Him with clearer eyes than we now have; and so mightier transformations will take place within us; we cannot tell nor even imagine what we shall be. A man may try and look at Christ for a lifetime. A CHANGE OF THE MOST MARKED CHARACTER IS ALREADY SUPERINDUCED. We call it then an opal. But, Christians, there will be no hidings of faces in heaven! They labour with meaning and soar with aspiration. "We shall see Him as He is," and pass at once into the distinctions of His sovereignty. G. Behind the fumes of drink, behind the cloud of crime, each may have made his start and fought his fight, and have proved the possibility, and have manifested some germ of possible growth. The mist will melt away, and all be made plain when Christ appears. The Son creates them at once to new majesty as He once created worlds, for His power is dealing with an entirely obedient material, a material ruled by regenerated wills promptly and absolutely responsive to His sovereignty. "For we shall see Him as He is." thou shalt "see Him," but not nigh; thou shalt be driven from His presence. Our minds often revert to Christ as He was, and as such we have desired to see Him. The transcendent beauty of Christ imparts itself only in natures made tender by the Spirit. (c)To everything there is a season, and this not the time of glory.II. Another analogy worthy of our notice is that these transfiguration processes effect themselves upon a new and impressionable life. St. John doubtless had in mind the effect of the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. All we can say is that the holy city of the saved world, the new Jerusalem of the perfected humanity, is slowly but steadily coming down from God out of heaven, and will in time appear four-square upon the earth. We call it then a sapphire. That was almost the only revelation to which he gave much heed; the effect of it was the only spiritual effect of which he was conscious. You do not see the person, you only see him reflected. Behold this world in all its magnificence and beauty, appointed to be his habitation, and to minister to his improvement and happiness. When we see Christ here, we see Him to our profit; when we see Him there, we shall see Him to our perfection. The transcendent beauty of Christ imparts itself only in natures made tender by the Spirit. Life is the school, the arena, the watch tower. Furthermore, if we had seen Christ as He was, we should have had great love for Him; but that love would have been compounded with pity. "We know."2. The transcendent beauty of Jesus Christ casts a spell over us, and we long to copy Him. If we are absorbed into Christ, and Christ into us, when He is manifested we also shall be manifested with Him in glory. Ah! The premonitions of our future are afforded by the nature of —(1) Our present states. The premonitions of our future are afforded by the nature of —(1) Our present states. He will fight against wrong feelings. Life is the school, the arena, the watch tower. The soil may dwarf the Divine life and prevent its perfect development; nevertheless, we have that life in germ. But when we see Him, there it will be joy without sorrow; sin and sorrow itself will have gone; ours will be a pure, unmingled, unadulterated joy. Probably the traditions of saints who had set themselves to meditate on the agonies of the pierced hands and feet, and at last received nail marks in their own persons, are not simple myths, but have a basis of scientific fact. There is rapture in devotion. So at last in the heavenly city we are made perfectly like Him, and seas of bliss begin to roll through our souls, because "we see Him as He is." If selfish or lustful or proud, these qualities tend simply to go on and harden into fixed form. "Beloved! And the law holds in human life. PERSONAL IDENTITY. This I suppose to be seeing Christ as He is, so far as this present world is concerned. how transitory is our view of Jesus! The gospel is constantly putting a man upon moral choices, and so it acts against the solidifying tendency of habit or native inclination; i.e., it keeps a man constantly in the world of freedom and out of the region of fixed habit. It is pleasant to believe His grace, but we had rather see it. We call it then an opal. The wondrous changes since infancy, with the development of hidden powers, do not effectually teach us that changes as great await us, or may be achieved. Hereditary qualities take the lead, and the character moves on in their direction. )Life and character in GodA. Crown Him!" (3) The consideration of the object is different; the one look upon Him as their inexorable judge, the other as their merciful saviour; their interest in Him maketh Him dear to their souls.2. Christ is designated by the evangelist "the true Light;" he calls himself "the Light of the world." There are few, I suppose, in Christendom, who do not form any idea of Christ; but in some cases it is unhappily a mistaken one. God save thee! These four may be separated each from the other. Have you never stood upon the hilltops when the mist has played on the valley? The holy Psalmist said, "I shall be satisfied when I awake in Thy likeness"; "I shall behold Thy face in righteousness." The monks of Mount Athos hypnotise themselves into trance conditions by gazing at their own bodies. That is human life in the believer's eye, in its best and wisest form — still the child life, wistful, prophetic, marvellous, suggestive; a child life so full of strange dreams, but with all its achievements yet to come, to come in that great after world for which the whole round of this age long story of man is but a nursery, but a preparation, but a rehearsal, but an education. Still we perceive in him capacities for high and noble attainments; capacities which stamp on his existence the seal of eternity.1. but I want to see the Saviour, the Saviour of Calvary, the Saviour of Judea, the very one that died for me. Young man, the text says, "We shall see Him as He is." Hawes, D. D.I. The deep mental impressions of the mother often infix themselves legibly upon the young life she brings into the world. Spurgeon. Suddenly the wind has blown away the mist from under you, and you have seen the fair, fair valley. I begin with the perfection of our knowledge. "We shall see Him as He is.". It was the look of another, the face of another, that had passed into hers. By degrees he comes to understand his position — he did not quite understand it at first — and he is full of gratitude when he contrasts what he is now with what he was some months or years ago. So at last in the heavenly city we are made perfectly like Him, and seas of bliss begin to roll through our souls, because "we see Him as He is." We shall see the hand, and the nail-prints too, but not the nail; it has been once drawn out, and forever. We shall not see the Christ wrestling with pain, but Christ as a conqueror. If man's nature is to be photographically sensitive to the celestial splendour of the Son of Man in His last glorious manifestation, the quickening from the death of sin to the life of righteousness, must be followed by a new birth of man's sentient life from the dust of death. Brother, with snow upon thy head, wilt thou "see Him as He is"? The moulding forces of society tend to bring men into conformity with ruling types rather than to make them separatists. To some persons He is a mere man. God may yet do great things with them, so long as He can secure in them some seed of future life.3. We walk here by faith. "WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM." So that, sift the matter as closely as you will, whilst on earth we see Christ as He was rather than Christ as He is — and in exact agreement with this sight of Christ is the likeness we acquire. And, beyond the personal evidence arising from the exercise of faith in the soul, there is the witness of the Spirit in our hearts. "We shall see Him as He is," and pass at once into the distinctions of His sovereignty. We learn the true reason why men are so apt to reject the principles of natural and revealed religion; they are loath to be under the restraint of them. Ruskin, in his "Modern Painters," tells that the black mud or slime from a footpath in the outskirts of a manufacturing town — the absolute type of impurity — is composed of four elements — clay, mixed with soot, a little sand, and water. And it also seeks to produce them. Now, if men by projecting themselves into moods of abstraction discover new powers of mind, find unknown fires begin to burn within them, and rise into worlds of spiritual ecstasy, what change, think you, ought to effect itself within us if with the same steadfastness we contemplate the personality of Him who is the Leader and Consummator of our faith? This natural history should open our minds to the possibility of a like spiritual history. The righteous burst forth at once into the zenith of their destinies like stars into the swift kindling splendour of the firmament. We should have feared lest He might not overcome. We shall not bow before Him with trembling, but it will be with joy; we shall not shake at His presence, but rejoice with joy unspeakable. And in the spiritual realm this fact has its counterpart. She had seen Christ. That is what damps the spirit. 1. Now are we the sons of God, now are we the germ of what we shall find ourselves in that fair land. We shall love Him quite as much when we see Him in heaven, and more too, but it will be love without pity; we shall not say "Alas!" Good things, from which men thirty years ago hoped so much, have been done only to show how much more remains to be done. But we who believe that this life is at its best but a germ, a start, a discipline, can afford to broaden our hope beyond all our seeing. 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