Changed lives or just another scam?

“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:

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.

Effective face-time

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.

Is now a good time?

  • To turn swords into farming implements
  • To turn profits into medical care for all
  • To turn genocide into protection from bigotry

If not now, when, uncle?

  • To turn dens of thieves into houses of prayer
  • To turn thieves and robbers into shepherds of God’s people

Is now a good time to turn the Holy Land into the whole land?

Naturally not much

People who like avoiding contact with other people will see the covid-19 crisis as a blessing.  People who thrive on contact with their peers (including strangers!) will see the viral outbreak as a blessing in disguise. The exposure of our natural attitudes and practices are challenges we cannot ignore and yet the truth about our communities and love of nature will still not lead to change. Not much of a change will be noticeable to people whose lives in addition to employment are simply eat, drink, and play.

No change

How do I know that people are not going to change? The point is repeated in the movie about how our world comes to an end. There is the decline of love and faith and  (Mat. 24:12, Luke 18:8). What is another government edict going to do to convict a person about his access to a life that is abundant? God is not a terrorist!

And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

Matthew 24:12

I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man comes, shall he find faith on the earth?

Luke 18:8

But the natural man does not receive the things of God’s  Spirit: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

1 Corinthians 2:14

Naturally bigoted

We want Eden without the

  • Ability to choose
  • The pigs
  • Cannabis
  • The diversity

How good can the world be without all its parts? Do we really believe that there is excellence in all the earth?

We have long ago discarded our respect for nature.  We like our fruits and vegetables seedless, and artificial flavours and colours do not disturb us.  We could have a world with fewer cans and bottles.  Our governments have outlawed cannabis and legalised alcohol, legalized theft and outlaw enterprise. We can love a car but there is no relationship. We prefer the world with people who are spitting images of ourselves. That is xenophobia in disguise.

How much smaller and ridiculous can the pride of the nations and any of the globe’s clans get? NOT MUCH!


For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

1 John 2:16

John wants to know

You might, like me, have a favourite Bible book but the man who demands the most of us has no book. In fact we could say all Christians are his book, to take an analogy from Paul’s 2nd letter to the Corinthians (3:1-3). The revolutionary zeal that moved John the Baptist and gripped the men who answered Yeshua’s call has practically disappeared into the crookedness of every generation since the apostles fell asleep. Can today’s movements and religious sects have any integrity without renouncing their so called prevailing truth and empty traditions and change their minds? Are our generations – the older and the younger – turning to each other? John wants to know.

John died apparently discarded by his generation, but rich in experience. He had seen a hypocrite mob come out to the Judean desert (Matthew 3:7, Luke 3:7). He had heard that the never-seen were happening. His authority was still deceptively debated as the end of Yeshua’s public ministry approached.  When John was preaching the axing of the tree was not conditional.

The never-seen-before

And [Yeshua] answered and said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good tidings preached to them.

Luke 7:22

I cannot imagine any one, least of all theologians familiar with the theme of Messianic teaching, doubling down on grasping at the straws of Judaism with the popular and pernicious doctrine of saved by works and faith. Even Jews do not believe that any more.

John’s repentance rejected

If we want to prove how bankrupt we are we only need to join the chorus of ruling priests, elders and scribes that all one needs is a return to Moses and the cherished (and actually quite empty) traditions of the Jewish people. We cannot say we have changed our minds and still trot out the Pentateuch, the proverbs and  prophecy, as if the pimps and prostitutes, tax-collectors had not conscientiously turned to John and Yeshua.

The Way – with its straight paths for our feet – is a long way from the tabernacle, the genocidal possession of Canaan process, the exclusionary provisions in the statute and judgments, and the merciless execution of accused persons. The church is a different creation than the insular twelve tribes. The church must not become a nepotism-laden priesthood or develop money-making temple quasi-services. If there is pride in copying Israel-Judah John wants to know how you got there. John wants to know who asked the families of the earth to become Jews. John wants to know why does anyone- even a Jew – need either circumcision or the law of Moses, since Abraham was justified and made father of many nations in a state of uncircumcision.

And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:

Romans 4:11

Wallowing in mud after a bath is great to a pig!