In the Presence of God

"And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden." (Genesis 3:8).

Contemplating being in the presence of God can be either a cause of fear or a source of blessing. Adam and Eve were greatly afraid of His presence because of their sin. Cain "went out from the presence of the LORD" (Genesis 4:16) because of his sinful heart. Yet it will also be to many a time of great joy. "For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?" (1 Thessalonians 2:19).

The difference, of course, is the presence or absence of unforgiven sin in our life. Most of the sixteen occurrences of this phrase in the Bible stress the judgmental aspect. Those who reject Christ's offer of forgiveness, through repentance and faith in His death for our sins, will eventually be banned forever from His presence, like Cain. " who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power" (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

But for those who have repented of their sins and turned to Christ for salvation, the prospect of the coming and personal presence of the Lord Jesus is one of joyful anticipation, for "In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore." (Psalm 16:11).

When He comes again, we shall be presented "faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy" (Jude 24) and so shall we "ever be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Knowing this, we can whole heartedly be "looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God" (2 Peter 3:12)