II CORINTHIANS 3:17-18: “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 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.” NKJV
OBSERVATION: Have you ever stopped to think about how important a mirror is in our daily lives? Think about going through your daily routine without a mirror. Would you be able to get ready in the morning? Would you be able to drive your car safely down the road? When you stop to think about it – mirrors are essential to living a happy, safe, and successful life!
YET, TODAY I COULD NOT GET PAST THE WORD MIRROR…
I have read these verses in II Corinthians all of my life. Yet, today I could not get past the word “mirror.” For some reason, it stood out like a neon sign as I read these familiar verses. Then I read the chapter over again and began to see how it fit into Paul’s closing statement in this chapter. When you are blind you have no need for a mirror. Yet, when you are given the gift of sight a mirror becomes essential in the course of fulfilling God’s call upon your life.
Paul contrasts the Old and New Covenants, the covenants of the law and grace. The former had a glory that was passing away. The latter was a glory that was ever-increasing. The Jews who rejected Christ could not see this glory because a veil hung over their spiritual eyes. They rejected the message of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and hung unto their adherence to the law as a means of righteousness.
“But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament because the veil is taken away in Christ.” II Corinthians 3:14 NKJV
It is important to remind ourselves that the New Testament, as we know it, was not in existence at this time of writing. The Biblical text that the Jews read was the same one Paul was preaching from. To one it was the source of death and to the other the source of life. The difference was that for Paul and fellow believers in Jesus Christ the veil had been taken away. What proved to be death for one became life for the other!
- “But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” II Corinthians 3:15-16 NKJV
GOD’S WORD IS THE MIRROR!
This brings us full circle to the mirror! Unlike the Jews who asked Moses to veil his face to hide the glory of his encounter with God, we welcome the glory of the Lord and we do so with unveiled faces. We no longer approach God’s Word through the letter of the law. Rather, we approach God’s Word in the freedom and anointing of the Spirit. It is the Word of God that is the mirror that we are all looking into. What proved to be death for some because they could not see has become life and transformation for us who behold Christ with unveiled faces.
WE ARE BEING TRANSFORMED!
As we look into the mirror of God’s Word, through the gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we find our lives being transformed – inch by inch, step by step, from one degree of glory to the next. As we look intently into this mirror our focus continues to brighten and we experience a wonderful transformation. We begin to see the very image and nature of Jesus Christ begin to be reflected in us. This is the glorious and wonderful transformation by the Spirit of God in our lives.
Yet, this transformation doesn’t simply take place by standing in front of the mirror. It comes by actively following the prompting of the Spirit, through the Word of God, in willful obedience. This is what James is talking about when he exhorts us to be doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving ourselves. Notice how James also uses a mirror in his exhortation!
- “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; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 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
OBEDIENCE IS NEEDED!
Note, James says the one who is a hearer only – “…observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.” To look in the mirror of God’s Word and to walk away without obedience, is to miss the leading and transformation power of the Spirit of God in our lives. James goes on to say – “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty (God’s Word through an unveiled face) 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!”
This morning I will take a shower and get ready. I will need to see if my beard needs trimming. I will need to check that there is nothing unpresentable before I walk out the door. And, to do all these things…
I NEED A MIRROR!
If I give so much care to my physical appearance, how much more should I daily prepare my spiritual man? Have I taken the time to look in the mirror of God’s Word with an unveiled face? Have I taken the time to discern the leading of the Spirit for my life? Have I committed to drawing upon the grace of God to be a doer of the Word? Have I allowed the mirror of God’s Word to discern between the soul and the spirit, between the thoughts and intentions of my heart?
Lord, this morning, help me to pause at the mirror of Your Word!
In Jesus’ Name!