“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, NASB
This single verse from Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church (2:3:18) is a stiff rebuke to the narratives produced by people who want to take credit for the progress of believers. What gives them away is the fact that they are repeatedly roadblocks to what Christ wants to do in believers’ lives. We can try to show how we have “outchanged” other believers but we consistently fail. It is Christ who pardons sin, gives life to the repentant, gives the Holy Spirit to his elect, and brings them to glory. A changed life has everything it needs and it needs no standard bedside the Lord Christ. It is his absence from the human agenda that brings people to the fully changed scam.
See here what the true disciple contrasts
- a veiled Moses with all the saints
- an unchanged people with a changing people
This tower of seismic contrasts goes further than veiled Moses and an unchanged people. If a person choses moonlight over the sun so they will never see. Reading Moses a certain way amounts to treachery. “But to this day”, said Paul, a cream of the Jewish crop, “whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart;” (2 Corinthians 3:15, NASB). It comes down to discerning the apostle’s intentions when he talks about:
- glory (2 Corinthians 3:7,8,9,10)
- great hope (2Cor 3:12)
- The transitory and the permanent
- Fading glory (2 Corinthians 3:7 )
- The exceeding glory of the Spirit’s ministry (2 Corinthians 3:8)
- The glory that fades and the glory that remains (2 Corinthians 3:11)
- The old covenant veil that did and does nothing for hardened minds (2 Corinthians 3:14)
- The veil taken away when a person turns to CHRIST (Corinthians 3:16)
The face: analogy and reality
The attempt to subvert the gospel with lies about being “fully changed” on account of a claim to be commandments-keepers is a miserable failure. The apostle is unequivocal: we are being changed. If anyone want to say that Christ has finished changing us we know that a demon is involved, and hypocrisy is the outfit and jewelry of that crew.
Faded temple and law talk kills
Any comparison of the faces of Christ and Moses has to conclude with a resolute contrast. Furthermore and without a doubt, face to face with the Lord Christ is not an end of the age business. A changed life has eternal rationales, gracious departures and arrivals, and God does not admit claims by human to be those things that God cannot transfer to us. Moses is a partial picture of success. Even though he had a unique kind of burial it is obvious that I recall having a tough time convincing students that repentance is neither a behavioural u-turn nor a river of tears of sorrow. It seems that the popular view of repentance is a mock up of John the Baptist’s “make the fruit that speak repentance’s language” (Matthew 3:8). Within three years of John’s call for repentance fruit there were thousands of witnesses in Jerusalem to the fact that only a handful of his contemporaries had sincerely changed their minds about what God was doing in the interest of all human beings. John did not live to see it, thanks to faded temple and law talk.
Careful analysis of the priorities of credentialed operatives in the religions of both east and west shows that leaders and those aspiring to lead only need to make outlandish claims that no-one can prove or disprove. It is perfectly fine to believe anything at all. The goals that we say we have achieved are not the ones that reflect the growth everyone who is on a journey of infinite dimensions should expect. The conquest of land and the provision of immense wealth are poor signs of face-time with divinity. Did not Gautama renounce life’s comforts and traditional rights so he could focus on spiritual values? So did Moses, John the Baptist. It seems that people are convinced that they can achieve more with anything less than a moment by moment mindfulness of the vast gap between themselves and the God of the universe, then we can fully explain the shallow pits we have dug for ourselves with our religio-political constructs. How little we have learned about real face-time with God!
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 4:6
So let us continue to paint the picture of contrasts, bearing in mind that one person’s freedom fighter is another person’s terrorist. My glory might be my neighbour’s shame. Take the use of bacon (with eggs) as a staple for breakfast and its use practically everywhere to add flavour (and God knows what else) and compare that to the near outright ban on swine in some lands. Glory, hope, permanent values are going to make sense only in the light of shame, despair and fads.
- glory (2 Corinthians 3:7,8,9,10)
- great hope (2 Cor. 3:12)
- The transitory and the permanent (2 Corinthians 3:7)
- The glory in the face of God’s agent (2 Cor 3:8)
This saying pins light transmission to the Incarnate Word, the world’s light. Perhaps when we actually love our sinful neighbours as God the Father does we can say we have been fully changed. That is not happening anywhere most human pride in achievement rises and quenches the Spirit’s work.
The face of Christ is specific and exclusive. People cannot just turn it into a wisdom of the prophets thing or a faith is obedience thing, and especially not a love God priority with xenophobic food, drink and festival things.