“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 followers of Jesus, I think that the verse quoted above (part of a verse actually) has to be one of the most exciting passages in scripture concerning glory. Here, the Apostle Paul brings us into direct contact with the glory of God. The glory which was veiled to the Israelites during the time of Moses and remains hidden to those not in relation with Jesus has now been revealed to those who have experienced the freedom of the Spirit.
BRIEF RABBITT TRAIL: It is not my intention to spend a lot of time quibbling over the correct translation of κατοπτριζόμενοι (beholding). It is a fact that the Greek word could mean seeing as in a mirror or reflecting as a mirror. I think we sometimes force ourselves into an “either, or” definition when in all actuality it could be both at the same time. If you asked me, “So, which is it, seeing as in a mirror or reflecting as a mirror?” My answer would be, “Yes.”
As we who are in Christ are experiencing the glory of God, both seeing it and reflecting it, we are told that we are also being transformed into that same image of glory (Jesus), from one degree to another. That sounds wonderfully awesome to me. But what in the world does it mean, and how is it accomplished? I’d like to discuss one aspect of this process with you. It’s something we all experience (go figure) and none of us enjoy. PAIN.
There are many who believe that upon coming to Christ we are to be completely delivered from all pain and suffering. All of our distress is attributed at once to the enemy. I fear that at times we may have been “rebuking the devil” when actually our discomfort has been part of our transformation into glory. We insist that we want to be like Jesus, that we truly desire his glory, but somehow we have forgotten that in bringing many sons and daughters to glory Jesus himself had to experience much suffering. Is a servant greater than his master, or a messenger than the one who sent him? Of course not. Then we would do well to understand that our participation in glory will hurt at times. It was Jesus’ assumption of humanity that required even the author of salvation to learn obedience through what he suffered. So it is that the recipients of salvation experience pain as we are transformed from glory to glory into the image of the Son.
Lastly, we must never forget that the Father disciplines those children that he loves. Our “Western mindset” seems to always possess connotations of punishment and anger when considering the “discipline of the Father.” But discipline does not necessarily imply that sin has been committed and that punishment is being meted out. No, like any good father, God sometimes trains us, molds, shapes, and directs us in what is painful that we might bear the peaceable fruit of righteousness, that we might share his holiness, that we might be transformed from one degree of glory to another into the image of Christ.
Be encouraged today!! As a follower of Jesus, your pain and suffering are not in vain. You are experiencing the glory of God, being transformed into the glorious image of him by whose stripes you have been healed.
“ For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”