I long to behold Christ. Not my safe, bland, flat, faithless perception of Him. But Christ himself. Christ in all of his glory. Contemplation of his approving face is the only sight that can truly lift my head.
Of beholding Christ John Owen says, “No one will ever behold the glory Christ by sight in heaven who does not behold His face by faith in this world. There are many who say that they desire to be with Christ, to gaze at His glory, but they can’t tell you why because they have never seen Him through the eye of faith. They really only believe that heaven would be preferable to hell if they can’t be here. They pretend to want to someday behold Christ’s glory in heaven, but they have no faith in Christ here in this world. So their imagined desire for heaven is nothing more than self-deception. These are religious people who lie to themselves. Their fleshly affection likes to behold images and artistic renderings of Christ – in his suffering, in his resurrection, and in his heavenly glory. They think that in these things they are beholding Christ’s glory. Yet, without a true faith in the Gospel of Christ, all this is nothing but empty, religious window dressing… Truly beholding Christ’s glory in a way that comes by faith does not merely behold his outward appearance, for He had no outward glory of physical beauty. Nor is it beholding the beauty of His work, for His work was the lowly work of a servant, not the glorious work of a King. No. The people who behold Him with the eye of faith see a much greater glory – they see the glorious person of Jesus, they see His glorious heart, they see a faint reflection of the glorious divine nature of Christ, and they long to see more. This is the sight that draws our hearts toward heaven. This is the glory that John the Baptist saw when he cried out, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
– John Owen, The Glory of Christ (my paraphrase)