I’ve often heard it said that when God looks at us, He only sees Jesus.
Now, I understand where this error has arisen from – for error it is, make no mistake. The idea is that, because we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ, instead of seeing us in all our brokenness and sinfulness, God sees only Jesus in his glory and righteousness. Nice idea, but, as I say, mistaken.
I’ve said before that I have no truck with the notion that God cannot look upon sin. Jesus was (is) God encased in flesh, and he hung around and got up close and personal with all manner of filthy sinners. The reason God can look at our sin without it being a huge obstacle is that He has forgiven it. The reason we can draw close to God in spite of our sin is that, through the death and resurrection of Jesus, God has provided us with a means to be rid of our guilt and shame. (And, at the same time, He lives in us by His Spirit, thus providing us with a means to grow in holiness.)
So there is no reason why, in looking at us, God should have to somehow pretend to see Jesus instead of us, or ask Jesus to cover up or blot out our nasty, dirty selves so He doesn’t have to see us.
The Bible says He knows how many hairs are on your head (Luke 12:7). To me, that means when God looks at you, He sees you in all the glorious individuality that sets you apart from the other seven billion or so people on the planet and makes you uniquely you. He sees you, and He rejoices in you.