Those of you who were at the Alton campus of Abundant Life Sunday, heard me preach from 2 Corinthians 3:14-18. Let me take a few minutes and firm up a few of the thoughts from this passage of scripture. (Here it is, if you missed it.)
Paul is writing concerning the nation of Israel and how their confusion concerning God’s intent for the law has left them in a state wherein they are blinded. Paul compares their lack of clear understanding to a person who has a veil over their eyes and consequently their vision is restricted. Clarity and focus escape such a person.
Here’s the scripture…
“But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:14–18, ESV)
I want to direct your attention to verses 16-18 and the transformation that God intends when a person comes to Jesus. Notice this progression.
- When a person turns to Jesus the veil is removed.
- The Holy Spirit brings freedom. In this particular context this is freedom from confusion of the truth.
- We begin to be transformed into the image of Christ by beholding the glory of God.
- Every time we behold his glory we are transformed from one degree to the next.
I love this biblical description of the process of sanctification in the life of a believer. My question for today is this… “How do we behold God’s glory?”
Simply answered, by seeing Him in His Word and by experiencing Him through the work of the Holy Spirit that occurs when we truly worship.
The importance of God’s Word in the life of the believer cannot be overstated. Through the study and meditation upon the Scriptures we learn who God is. Pictures of His interaction with His people begin to form in our minds and we begin to trust His care and understand His will. Without the Scriptures hidden in our hearts and minds, we are prey to every contradictory opinion and idea about who God is and even His existence.
Once the Word is within us, we have the fuel that the Holy Spirit ignites.
The Holy Spirit, in times of worship and meditation, takes the Word and makes it alive. Suddenly God’s direction and counsel expresses itself in our minds, and according to 2 Corinthians 3:18 one degree at a time we are transformed into the image of Christ.
It’s a process. Step-by-step, moment-by-moment, year-by-year we are moved closer and closer. Slowly our image disappears and the image of Jesus appears. What’s my advice for you today? Don’t cut class. Don’t avoid the Word or times in God’s presence. Both are crucial ingredients in the maturation process of the believer and our world desperately needs you and me to reveal the image of Jesus.
Find a methodology that works for you to put the word of God in your mind. I read and listen to the Scriptures while I read. By using both my eyes and my ears I find that I retain much more of what I read. Find something that works for you. Then I schedule time to be alone with God and to meditate upon Him. These times begin with me focusing my mind on God. I do this through expressions of worship. Sometimes I speak out loud, other times I sing. My goal being to shut out the world and give God a portion of my time. It always amazes me how suddenly pieces of Scripture, things I’ve seen or heard, and other materials in my mind are used by the Holy Spirit to form a thought about God’s love, goodness, and faithfulness. In a flash God is with me, and conviction, encouragement, instruction, and direction happen. Over and over again I return to these times and little by little I am being changed into His image.
It only took a moment to be saved but to form the image of Christ in me takes a lifetime. I’m in for the whole thing! How about you?