“We all, reflecting like a mirror the Lord’s glory, are being changed into the very same likeness!” (II Corinthians 3:18, my translation).
THE SETTING HERE is a contrast of the Old Testament and the New Testament. Paul reminds his readers how Moses hid his face when he came down from Sinai, lest the people see the glory of his appearance fading away and lose confidence in the law which he was bringing down from God (vv. 7, 13).
The “ministry of righteousness” which has come to us is far more glorious than the “ministry of condemnation” which they received at Sinai. The gospel (good news of righteousness in Christ) outshines the law (bad news that man is a sinner and condemned) as much as the Spirit does the letter, life does death, or liberty does bondage. Small wonder, then, that Paul confesses his own inadequacy for such a ministry, and in the same breath acknowledges his dependence on God (v. 5)!
In spite of this, we are privileged to look with an unveiled face on the glory of the Lord. And the most glorious part comes next. As we look on Jesus, Paul affirms, we are gradually being changed into His likeness! The word here translated “change” gives us the English word “metamorphosis.” It is the word used at the transfiguration of Christ (Matthew 17:2). The same word is translated “transform” in Romans 12:2.
What a blessed thought! Such hope inspires boldness (v. 12), but at the same time demands that we turn from the things of darkness (4:2). It makes us servants of each other for Christ’s sake (4:5), but also frees us from all men to serve Christ (3:17). Through faith it makes us invulnerable to affliction, persecution, distress or any other discouragement (4:7-9).
For we see Jesus! Jesus, who died, but rose again! And we know that even if we are put to death for His sake, we, too, will rise again and be with Him forever! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!