Thursday, April 4, 2013
Do You See the Light of Glory?
2Cor. 4:1 ¶ Therefore, since it is by God’s mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart.
2Cor. 4:2 We have renounced the shameful things that one hides; we refuse to practice cunning or to falsify God’s word; but by the open statement of the truth we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God.
2Cor. 4:3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.
2Cor. 4:4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
2Cor. 4:5 For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake.
2Cor. 4:6 For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Paul continues to converse about glory, or the presence of God and this continually brings us back to Christ. In this day where people are struggling about how to engage our world in a conversation about what it means to be a Christian, maybe this is where we ought to return our focus.
Paul had already gone through lists of behaviors and things that he found unacceptable in the community there at Corinth but now he gets to the heart of the matter and that is Christ. Paul has renounced shameful things -- why? Because of Christ. Paul refuses to manipulate the God's word -- why? Because of Christ. He refuses to place any kind of veil over the gospel, for the gospel is the good news about Jesus Christ. And the unbelievers who are sitting around and judging are blinded because there is a veil over their eyes. They cannot see the light of the gospel, which is the glory of Christ. They get so hung up on the way that the Christ followers are living their lives that they cannot see the reason why people are living their lives in this way.
Jesus Christ is the image of God and he is our goal -- to be like him! That is why we should preach Jesus! When we lead people to Jesus Christ it is the very nature of Jesus that begins to shine out of them and therefore it is possible for light to shine out of darkness. Our lives are dark without him and it is the light of the glory of God that shines forth out of the life that is transformed by the one who is continually seeking the face of Jesus Christ.
In a nutshell this is the holiness message. God has always been calling his people to be a holy people. It is his desire for each and every single human being to be made holy. The only way that we can be made holy is by Christ's holiness; by participating in Christ.
When we begin to describe the holy life as a list of do's and don'ts people simply will not understand. They will sit back and judge us and be critical, hoping that they can catch us in some kind of a mistake. When we apply our standards to others they will resist because, as Paul said, their eyes are veiled. They don't understand because they don't know Christ. And this is something that we as Christ followers must comprehend. Our responsibility is to point people to Jesus Christ so that the veil can be lifted. Then, when the goal for your life is to be a reflection of the Image (who is Christ), then everything else begins to pale in comparison. Arguments over my "right' to do certain things or engage in particular behaviors simply melt away in the light of the glory of Christ. Our personal responsibility is to know Christ. This is the great command, to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. And then, out of the overflow of that love we will be filled with a desire to lead others to the light of the glory of Christ so that they too may be transformed. This is truly love of neighbor.
Sometimes the battles that we choose to fight are a distraction which keep us from reaching the true goal -- Christ. Do you see the light of his glory?
Lord, please help me to seek you in all things this day. Amen.