1--We all [All Christians]
2--Are right now [Present tense]
3--enabled to look upon [No veil covering us as Moses had to be covered]
4--The Lord [Clearly and distinctly seen present in the gospel]
5--And we all [All Christians]
6--Are being changed [Present tense..right now]
7--To mirror or reflect Him [His reality expressed in us]
8--All is His work in us through His Spirit.
Locke says this...
"By contemplating the resplendent face of the blessed Redeemer, [Seen present in the gospel] we are changed into something of the same image. It is a law of our nature that we are moulded, in our moral feelings, by the persons with whom we associate, and by the objects which we contemplate. Thus, we are changed into His very image by a continued succession of glory, as it were, streaming upon us from the Lord."
The idea is, according to Locke and others, by contemplating or seeing Him afresh , we become changed into the likeness of that same One we are seeing and we are conformed to that which is revealed there. In simple language, we become like Him and it is obvious to others.
My question is, how does this take place? I want to share something I heard years ago from someone, and I cannot remember who it was, [Jim Hylton I think] that I've never forgotten and has been a help many times in my own personal life and growth.
Let's suppose this verse really is saying as we see Him more and more clearly, we become like Him more and more. [I think it is saying that] So, the question might be, when do we generally see Him more clearly? For me, it has been when I've been hurting or facing failure in my own life that He graciously reveals Himself anew in His love and faithfulness. Then is when I hit myself on the forehead in recognition that I'd forgotten Him, but He, thankfully, hadn't forgotten me.
This verse may be revealing to us a cycle of experiencing God in this way...
You hit bottom, with failure, or pain, or tragedy, something that takes the spiritual wind out of your sails. You, then, find yourself broken, repentant, or crying out in hopelessness. It is dark and despair is lingering over you. But God breaks through with a fresh word or view of His presence and grace in some fashion. It could be from the Word, a song, a friend, a sermon, or just a contemplative thought on your part. But He's unmistakably there in a fresh way. You see Him present. You recognize His voice in your heart of hearts.
In that moment it is like a mountain top experience almost because He's so real and present with you. How could you have doubted? How could you have forgotten or failed, whatever the case may be? You're strong now. Kingdom living is renewed. Life is good. You're alive again.
But you go on to a bit of complacency because, after all, you're busy or pressed or just trying to live life that has so many demands on your time and thoughts. No doubts about Him...just...well... you know... as I said... busy and pressed. Things that are familiar are no longer seen with Him as the backdrop. After all, they are just normal, everyday things. And God seems...so distant...again.
Then it comes...again. Failure or pain or tragedy. The tears, darkness, and even doubts begin their journey across you mind and soul. Where is God in all this? You certainly need something from Him. Or maybe you've settled in your thinking that He couldn't care, forgive, or deliver this time after so many times before. You don't deserve it after all with what you did.
But He does show up. A mountain top again. Complacency...again. Failure!! You get the picture.
The diagram below, which has been a guide to me for years and graciously put into pictorial form by my wife, might be helpful and revealing. Go through it. My conclusions will come on the other side of the diagram.
1--We will not ever... NOT fail or face pain or tragic events.Conclusions...
2--We will ultimately, by His Spirit, be brought to brokenness or repentance. [Or some form of crying out for help]
3--He will faithfully show Himself present and forgiving, gracious, powerful...whatever the need might be.
4--We will inevitably get complacent or foolish...again which inevitably lead to failure.
5--We will not ever... NOT fail or face pain or tragic events,
1--We are never as low as we were. [The upward cycle]
You see the pattern. It is much as the Nation of Israel did seven times in the Book of Judges in the Old Covenant [Testament] where that cycle resulted in seven Judges being raised up to deliver His people from their troubles.
But notice,.. in our New Covenant relational experience, we have hope beyond measure.
2--We will always experience Him in greater ways than before. [Higher revelation]
3--We will always be changed to some degree with those new revelations of who He really is in our lives. [Always different and further in growth than before]
The process, my friend, is called life and growth. Such is our wonderful journey in knowing our Gracious Lord in a New Covenant relationship and will be so until, one day, the work of changing us into His Glory will be finalized as we see Him face to face.