““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 from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
Growing as a Christian means becoming like Jesus, God’s own, man-sized picture of Himself. This is a glorious prospect, and it awaits each of us as God’s children. We are all dogged by present weaknesses, haunted by past failure, and overwhelmed by future uncertainties. In our text, this morning, Paul wants us to know that the most powerful, purposeful, and persistent force in the universe is at work to make us glorious with the glory of God.
This is also a progressive prospect. It does not happen all at once. Just like our children, we grow gradually upwards to maturity, from one degree of glory to another. We become like Jesus by seeing Jesus, meeting with Him, and hearing from Him. This is the Spirit’s role in the here and now, and it is why we must treasure the Scriptures. It is in the Spirit’s Word that we see, meet, and hear from Jesus. We see this in the very next verse, the Apostle tells us:
“Therefore (Because God is at work transforming His people into the glory of Jesus), since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:1–2,)
This is how Paul contributes to God’s great work of transformation: he refuses to become discouraged by the difficulties of Christian ministry, renounces all other crafty methods of doing ministry, refuses to twist Scripture to make it say what he might otherwise want it to say; instead he gives himself to manifesting the truth to each man’s conscience in the sight of God. Notice the elements of Paul’s ministry: Truth, conscience, and the presence of God. It is through the preaching of Truth that this encounter between God and conscience takes place.
“For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:5–6)
Paul’s point is clear: God effected the first creation by speaking and He effects the New Creation in the hearts of His people in like manner — by speaking His Word. In the Apostolic mind something special happens when the Word is preached (Cf 1Peter 22-25). Therefore, we must avail ourselves of every chance we can to place ourselves and our families under the preached Word of God. It is quite literally God’s life-changing, soul-transforming, sin-subduing power to bring us up to the glory.