Ever have the experience of suddenly seeing a scripture in a new light? Like driving down a familiar street and seeing something and saying to yourself or someone else, “Is that new?” and discovering that in fact it has been there all the time. I had one of those experiences recently. I have taught on 2 Corinthians 3:18 many times and have read it numerous more times and quoted it to myself out loud and in my head many more times. If it sounds like I think this verse is important – the answer is yes. So there I was recently on vacation and I find my thinking often shifts when I allow myself to relax (how do I live like that every day?) and I saw this verse in a new way.
So what did I see? Glad you were wondering! Look at the verse below.
18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV)
Anything particularly remarkable in it? On the surface there isn’t. Yet we all know that if we look in a mirror we see ourselves. Yet this verse suggests that I can look in a mirror and see Jesus. How does this work?
23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. James 1:23-25 (NKJV)
James, Jesus half-brother, said that if we want to see something different in the mirror we need to be intentional in our looking. This is an important point as mirrors in Paul’s time were made of polished metal, thus they did not provide a really clear reflection and you needed to look carefully in them. That is why Paul referred to seeing in a mirror ‘dimly’ (1 Cor. 13:12). So while we can behold Him the reflection is not clear but we can see Him in us. We can also know that as we choose to gaze at Him both in the word and in just sitting before Him that the Holy Spirit is changing us ‘from glory to glory.’
So let’s look at Him and remember what Paul said,
27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. Colossians 1:27-28 (NKJV)
Paul believed that as we focused on Him we grew up in Him. I can focus on Him in a mirror because He is in me. It is also evident that what we focus on grows in our lives, whether good or bad, because we are sowing into the place and point of our focus. So let us look in the mirror and simultaneously gaze upon Jesus and see Him in us. We can do what David described.
5 They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces were not ashamed. Psalm 34:5 (NKJV)
As a closing thought here is a song a good friend sent me that speaks to this post.
I’ve Seen I Am by Jonathan David Helser, the link is below.