Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Advent Words 2023 ~ Word 9: Glory


Advent Words 2023
Word 9: Glory

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.2 Corinthians 3:17-18

When we looked at the word ‘grace’ the other day we looked at John 1:14, which showed us that when Jesus Christ took on flesh he made God’s glory visible to us. The writer of Hebrews says something similar,

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being…” Hebrews 1:3

God’s glory expresses everything that God is – His character, His being, His attributes, His works. Jesus reflects all that God is, all His glory. Our passage today in 2 Corinthians 3 shows some of how God’s glory works in our lives as well.

We, who are in Christ, have received the gift of His Spirit which resides in us enabling us to live for Christ. Paul says in this passage that wherever the Spirit of the Lord is there also resides freedom. Part of our freedom means we have unveiled faces. This comes from the story of Moses when he would go before the Lord his face would shine with the radiance of God’s glory. But as he left God’s presence and returned to the people, he would put a veil over his face so the people would not see that the radiance from speaking to God was fading (See Exodus 34:33). We are freed from putting a veil over our faces because the Lord’s radiance does not fade because His Spirit is in us. Paul says that we also reflect the Lord’s glory.

Older translations of this passage use the word ‘behold’ instead of reflect, thus, we are “beholding the glory of the Lord”. Commentators point out that to behold something can mean both to gaze intently upon it and to reflect it. God’s Word gives us the ability to gaze intently on Christ and enables us, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to be transformed (changed) into Christ’s likeness. Paul says this process takes place with ever-increasing glory, or from one degree of glory to another. Christ in us enables us to be transformed – to change from the inside out!

As I was studying for this passage the words of a song came to mind.

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus.

Look full in his wonderful face.

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace."

We become what we behold. The more clearly we see (behold) Christ, the more we will become like Him and reflect Him to the world around us. And we, like Christ, reveal God’s glory with our lives. Keep your gaze intently focused on Christ.

Advent and Christmas give us so many opportunities to show God’s glory to those we interact with daily. His glory is expressed repeatedly in the hymns and carols of the season. There is a renewed spirit at this time of year for gift-giving and serving others in Christ’s love. Spend time beholding the glory of the Lord in His Word during this season and looking for ways to bless and serve others, reflecting His glory.


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1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Mary. Great explanation of the transforming process. That song "Turn your eyes upon Jesus" is perfect for today's devotion.