Beholding the Glory of the Lord

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18

This verse has some very important points regarding our lives as Christian. It speaks of our dramatic transformation from being enslaved to the old man of sin, to becoming more and more what God has destined us to become by His eternal counsel.

First, there is the phrase But we all, meaning this transformation of living a sanctified life is necessary of every Christian. If you are not living a life that is in correlation with the law of God, then there is reason to call into question your Christianity. A true Christian will live a life that is radically changed from what it was when he was a sinner. A true Christian will bear fruits of righteousness. He will no longer watch the trash in the secular entertainment of the world, nor will he partake in the idolatry that is prevalent among so many people today. He will not follow this or that famous Hollywood star that lives a life that is the complete opposite of Biblical morality.

Rather with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord. The open face here is in reference to when Moses after he had come down from Sinai had to cover his face with a veil because the glory of God shone from it. The Jews could not look upon that face, because Christ had not yet come. Still today, the heart of unbelievers is veiled as the apostle tells us in verse 15, “But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.” But Christians are able to behold as in a glass (a mirror) the glory of the Lord. What a wonderful benefit we have received from Christ’s death!

Further, the transformation we go under is because of our beholding. It is by regular beholding and gazing upon the glory of the Lord that we are changed. This means that we must continually be searching the Scriptures, reading the Scriptures, mediating upon the Scriptures, and hearing the preaching of the Word; one of the chief means of grace. It is by this that we are changed.  That is one of the reasons the Roman Catholic Church fell so heavily. It abandoned the Word of God for the councils of men and the word of the pope. Also, we are not changed by reading this or that “get help” book. Most of these books are so convoluted that they tell man to look inside himself for the answer to his problems. “You just have to believe in yourself!” What utter trash! Since when has fallen, depraved man ever been able to help himself?

The text makes is clear that it is only by beholding the glory of the Lord that we are changed. That is further explained by the last part of the text, “are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” This radical transformation from a life full of sin, to a life of holiness is only possible by the Holy Spirit working in our hearts to change us. A man can read the Bible thousands of times, but if he does not have the Holy Spirit working faith in his heart, he might as well be reading the Koran. The word changed in the Greek is also in the passive voice. A better translation of that phrase would be, we all . . . are being changed. This means that we are not the ones doing the changing, as the Arminian loves to think. Rather it is the Holy Spirit working within us that brings about this change.

May we more and more read our Bibles that we may, by the work of the Holy Spirit, live a life that is in conformity to the will of God.

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