An Unveiled Face

By Francis Frangipane
(En EspaƱol)

We will not find the glory of God by copying techniques or studying books. His presence cannot be entered by following manuals, but by learning to follow Immanuel.

In our immaturity, the church has sought to be known for many things. We have sought to be known for our uniqueness and particular emphasis. Some have sought to be known for speaking in tongues; others desired recognition through their buildings or evangelistic programs. Still others have publicized unique combinations of church government or a regular agenda of special speakers.

To Be Known for Knowing Him

This desire for human recognition and significance has created many church traditions that are unbiblical. They have not only separated us from each other, they have separated us from God. Today's disciples, however, will be known for just one thing: They will be known for truly knowing Jesus. His presence -- not just doctrines about Him but His very Spirit and likeness -- will uninhibitedly accompany those who follow the Lamb.

Because their focus is upon Him and Him alone, God will ultimately accompany their lives with great power. They will lay hands upon the sick, and instantaneous healings will be common. These miracles will be but a minor reward to a life that majors on loving Jesus.

Our salvation is not based upon what we do but upon who Jesus becomes to us. Christ alone is our righteousness, our virtue, and our strength! As we minister, it has to be in Jesus' power, or we are actually wasting time. Our confidence has to be in Him and not in our own ability. We must be settled in the knowledge that, while all things are possible for those who believe, apart from Him we can do nothing.

The Sacred Presence
Our noble quest is to awaken from the sleep of our cultural traditions; it is to seek and find the living presence of God. To each of us, the Almighty has a heavenly calling, an upward call into spiritual fulfillment.

Our hope is not based on speculation or unreasonable expectations. It comes to us directly from the Word of God:

"Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit" (2 Cor. 3:17-18).

This is the glorious hope of our calling: we each gaze upon Christ with an "unveiled face." Paul said, "We all . . . behold . . . the glory of the Lord." The plan of God includes you and me, not just apostles and prophets, visionaries and saints. The opportunity -- the holy privilege -- is to remove the veil that separates us from God's presence. Our inheritance is to behold His glory.

The old covenant speaks of two veils. One was the thick curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies within the temple. In the Holy Place, daily sacrifices were offered in ritual obedience to God; but in the Holy of Holies dwelt His sacred presence. Into this small room, the high priest entered but once a year on the Day of Atonement. It was a fearsome experience.

When Jesus died, this veil was rent in two from top to bottom. It signified the new openness that had been secured by Christ into the Holy Presence. The fact that it was torn from top to bottom tells us that Christ's sacrifice purchased us complete redemption. The urgency of the rending -- that it tore at the exact moment of Christ's death -- speaks to us of the Father's passion to receive us back into His family (Matt. 27:51).

However, there was another veil that Moses used to put over his face when he left the presence of God. This was done at the request of a nation who could not bear to look upon God's glory, fading as it was from Moses' face. The need for this veil was also removed in Christ. No longer would God have one man who dwelt in the sacred place while the nation lived separate. The new covenant has made us a community of glory -- "But we all, with unveiled face behold . . . the glory of the Lord" (2 Cor. 3:18).

But what exactly is a veil? It is something that hides what would otherwise be visible. As mentioned, our religious traditions that do not accommodate the presence of God can become a veil. How terrible that the very things we are doing for God might be the obstacles that are keeping us from Him!

"Their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ" (2 Cor. 3:14).

How can we discern when our traditions have become a veil between us and God's presence? Indeed, how can we break out of the false or cultural traditions that we have been taught to venerate and honor? The answer lies in the measure of our love for God's Word and the softness of our heart toward His voice. As we yield to His voice, our return to God begins.

"But whenever a man turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away" (2 Cor. 3:16). Right now, you are alone with God. The simple act of turning toward the Lord removes the veil.

The Scriptures tell us that no one can say "Jesus is Lord" except by the Holy Spirit. Say it: "Jesus, You are my Lord."

Turn your heart toward Him. Do not be afraid. Remember, the rending of the veil in the temple was His idea; He desires you to come near. The moment you turn your heart, "the veil is taken away."

Lord Jesus, forgive me for my many traditions. Especially, Lord, forgive me for living separate from Your voice. I take off the veil. I turn my heart to Your living presence.


Adapted from a chapter in Francis Frangipane's book The Days of His Presence, available at www.arrowbookstore.com.