Friday, January 14, 2022

Formed By the Word: Week 1 ~ Perspective: Behold Christ


Formed By the Word: Week 1 ~ Perspective

Today's post begins what I hope to be a weekly Words challenge as I explore words that come out of my time in Bible study. I say "what I hope to be" because I need to see how this weekly rhythm flows with my busy life in my job in full time ministry at my church.

Over the past year I have been studying 2 Corinthians with a friend - S-L-O-W-L-Y. After one year we have just finished chapter 5! It's been slow for a number of reasons. First there is,well, life. Sometimes we miss a week, or four, because one of us may have stuff going on. Then other times we slow way down because we chase rabbit trails we see in a passage and we dig in even more. 

The next four weeks will come from one of those rabbit trails. Chapters 3-5 of 2 Corinthians contain a lot of "perspective" words. Words such as seen/unseen, light, reveal, veiled/unveiled, display, show, reflect, sight, see, look, eteranl/temporary, blinded, regard, view, eyes. Paul's theology in his letters is that the right perspective is God's perspective. In these chapters in 2 Corinthians he shows that godly perspective impacts how we live, how we see others, how we view trials and suffering and the circumstances of life, and how we view eternity. So we will break these down and dig into them:

  • Week One ~ Perspective: Behold Christ.
  • Week Two ~ Perspective: Eyes Wide Open
  • Week Three ~ Perspective: Godly Perception
  • Week Four ~ Perspective: Eternal Eyesight

Behold Christ

The point at which we begin to have a godly perspective is when we behold, or see, Christ clearly. Paul tells us that before we knew Christ our minds were blind and we could not see Him for who He really was.
"The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ." 2 Corinthians 4:4-6

But when we turn to Christ by faith, the light of gospel is revealed and God's light now shines in our hearts to enable us to see the knowledge of God's glory in the face of Christ. Behold Christ!

Earlier in the letter Paul had used the language of veiled and unveiled from the story of Moses to describe the state of blindness and sight. In 2 Corinthians 3:7-18, Paul refers to the veil that Moses wore after he has spoken to God and been in the presence of His glory. Moses would wear the veil so that the Israelites would not see that the glow of God’s glory was fading from his face (3:14). Paul makes it clear that a new ministry/covenant is now in place. This new covenant is the ministry of the Spirit. It is more glorious than the old covenant in that it brings righteousness instead of condemnation, is ever-lasting instead of transitory, is life instead of death. The veil that Moses wore is now used as a metaphor by Paul to reveal those who do not see God clearly, and thus,are not living by God’s standards. Paul says that the veil covers their hearts (3:15), dulls their minds (3:14), and renders them spiritually blind (4:3-4). The cure to opening their hearts, minds and eyes, says Paul, is to see Christ in the right light, for turning to Him is the only way to have their lives unveiled.

When anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” 2 Corinthians 3:16

To see Christ in the right light we must see God’s glory in the right light. The light of the gospel displays, or reveals, the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (4:4). When we turn our hearts fully to Jesus Christ, in repentance and faith, God makes His “light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed (revealed) in the face of Christ.” (4:4). The lost are found, the blind can see. The Spirit gives life (3:6) and we are new creations (5:17)!

"The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word." Hebrews 1:3

When we see Christ in the right light, we behold Him, we see Him for who He really is. Paul, himself, experienced this on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-19). He met Jesus there and was literally blinded for three days until the Lord used a disciple named Ananias to heal him and restore his eyesight. Paul's conversation dramatically changed how he viewed Christ. He went from being a man who persecuted Jesus' followers to a man who "spoke boldly in the name of the Lord" (Acts 9:28). Paul would then go on to write, inspired by the Holy Spirit, the letters in the New Testament that open our eyes to behold Christ and see Him for who He really is. And when we behold Christ our perspective changes, and our lives change, and we behold Him to others as well.

"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 this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:18

The more clearly we see, or behold, Christ, the more we will become like Him. We become like what we behold.



I would love to have you to join me in being formed by the Word this year. After reading the above post, do some study on your own. Dig deeper into the verses and passages mentioned and then respond creatively. Share your thoughts and creative responses in the comment section below or on social media with #formedby theword and #wordsartandfaithgroup, and in our private Facebook group for words challenges the Words Art and Faith group.

2 comments:

  1. This is great, Mary. It fits right in with my Word for this year which is FOCUS and my scripture, " fixing our eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith." Heb 12:1
    Behold Christ. Yes. Looking forward to what you have to share.

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    1. Focus is a great word, Christine. Yor verse will definitely be a gret lens for life in the year ahead!

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