Beholding and Becoming

Continued from Restoration: New Man, New Creation

The question this book aims to answer is how do we become like Jesus? How does the restoration of the image of God within our hearts take place? In the following chapters we will explore how Scripture gloriously answers this question. For now, let’s consider a passage that compellingly describes the transforming power of gazing at God’s glory revealed in Jesus.

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 . . . And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. —2 Corinthians 3:16–18; 4:3–6

God changes us by giving us a vision of his glory revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ. The sensory language in this passage is remarkable. Paul speaks of the gospel being veiled or unveiled 21 (3:16, 18; 4:3), of beholding glory (3:18), of blindness and sight (4:4), of darkness and light (4:4, 6). Can you imagine what it would be like suddenly to be given sight after a lifetime of blindness? This is what happens when a person is born of the Spirit. As we so often sing, “I once was lost, but now I’m found; was blind, but now I see.” Though we were dead to God, blind to his beauty and glory, now we are God-conscious, God-aware.

This new vision of God is focused on God’s glory. Paul describes “beholding the glory of the Lord” in 3:18, the “light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” in 4:4, and the “light of the knowledge of the glory of God” in 4:6. What is the glory of God? It is the beauty and radiance of his worth. Only when we see this about God, his beauty and worth, displayed in and through Jesus Christ and his glorious work (3:18; 4:4–6), are we really changed. Beholding the glory of Christ is the means of becoming like Christ in his glory.

Though God’s image within us is disfigured and distorted by evil and sin, the good news is that God is bringing redemption and restoration, freeing us from sin’s penalty and power, and recreating us in the image of his Son. The vision of God’s glory in Christ in the gospel has transforming power. As we see him, we become like him.

Next: Life in the New Creation and the Imitation of Christ

Excerpted from Christ Formed in You by Brian G. Hedges

Shepherd Press