Monday, September 7, 2015

“The Glorious Reflection”

     We might think the word means "window". 

    "Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (II Corinthians 3:18).

    I refer to the word "glass" in the Apostle Paul's declaration of how the Spirit of God effects spiritual growth in the hearts and lives of born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.  For many years, I assumed the definition to involve a window through which I looked away from myself and unto the Savior.  However, the original Greek root word, "katoprizo", more lends itself to the notion of a mirror into which we gaze upon our reflection.  Thus, Paul calls us to view ourselves in terms of "the glory of the Lord" as we consider our image in the looking glass of God.  Rather than look out the window, as it were, to behold ourselves, we gaze into the mirror to see Him.

    This view of ourselves seems counterintuitive.  Rather than glory, our spiritual and moral image may often seem more reflective of human fleshly tendency.  Past failures and a present sense of weakness makes the viewing of glory in a mirror as wishful thinking at best, and proud delusion at worst.  As the Apostle John wrote, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us" (I John 1:8).  Moreover, Paul wrote, "I say through the grace of God given to me to every man that is among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think" (Romans 12:3).  Looking out the window to see the glory of the Lord thus seems far more logical and spiritually appropriate than "beholding as in a glass (mirror) the glory of the Lord."

    The truth nevertheless confronts and calls us to see the glorious reflection.  Without denying our humanity or minimizing those times when we follow it to our spiritual detriment, believers must nevertheless see glory in the mirror.  The Word of God commands that we believe ourselves to be in Christ, and Christ to be in us.  "Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus… Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (I Corinthians 1:30; 3:16).  Note that Paul addresses these passages, along with the thematic verse of this essay, to the Corinthian believers indicted as "carnal" (I Corinthians 3:3).  The Apostle nevertheless mandates the view of glory in the mirror.  Believers must see ourselves as united to the Spirit of the Lord Jesus regardless of whether we live accordingly or not.   Nothing changes the fact of His indwelling presence, or of our spiritual immersion in Christ.  Indeed, such reality makes carnality and sin all the more serious and even perverse.  If we distrust and disobey God, we do so in the presence of His Spirit, and against His moving within us to trust and obey.  We sin against the image in the mirror, the reflection of ourselves in Christ based on the reality of ourselves in Christ.  The glory in the mirror never changes.  Nothing more encourages us to act accordingly, nor does anything more lead us to true repentance when we fail to do so.

    The glass of God constitutes a mirror rather than a window.  The abiding presence of the Spirit of the Lord Jesus actualizes such glory in the sons and daughters of God in Christ.  This is the image upon which we must gaze, determining to see that which God sees.  Such a view into His spiritual mirror more and more changes our thoughts, attitudes, words, and deeds "into the same image" as the reflection of the glass becomes the reality of our path…

"Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord."
(Romans 6:11)

Weekly Memory Verse
    For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life."
(Romans 5:10)

No comments: